Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Ruth Absalom - last person to speak to Dr Kelly

I'm now going to run through the evidence of Ruth Absalom who spoke to the Inquiry by video link; she was examined by Mr Dingemans. Ms Absalom, a near neighbour of the Kellys, stated that she had known Dr Kelly for a number of years. So far as we know she was the last person to speak to Dr Kelly. She was out walking her dog and she and Dr Kelly exchanged some pleasantries, she thought that their conversation was 5 minutes long at the most. Interestingly her testimony showed that Dr Kelly opened the conversation and he didn't appear to be desperate to end it, it seemed to be the fact that Ms Absolom's dog was pulling on its lead that gave reason for the two people to part. Ms Absalom also stated that David Kelly was just his usual self so far as his demeanour was concerned.

Consultant psychiatrist Professor Keith Hawton (KH) was the subject of an extensive examination from Mr Dingemans and one of the questions asked by the latter concerned the evidence given by Ruth earlier that day in which she had indicated that David Kelly was just his usual self. KH, who we are informed is an expert on the subject of suicide, declared that it isn't unusual in those intent on killing themselves to experience a sense of peace and calm having made the fateful decision. Well I'm not totally convinced on that one in this instance.

The wretched business of timings which I had raised in my last post also manifests itself here. Ruth says that on that particular day she left home with her dog at about 2.15, rather earlier than her usual time of 3 o'clock. Although she didn't look at her watch she reckons that she met Dr Kelly at about three o'clock. Their paths crossed at the top of Harris's Lane in Longworth (that village lies between Southmoor where the Kelly's lived and Harrowdown Hill), this point being, by her estimation, about a mile from her home. However the evidence from Mrs Kelly seems to indicate that her husband didn't actually leave their house until sometime between 3 o'clock and 3.20 and then, assuming he took the shortest route to the top of Harris's Lane, one would need to add on at least 20 minutes I would have thought.

A couple of other points to round off this particular post. Mr Dingemans asked Ruth if she saw where Dr Kelly went after they separated. Understandably she wasn't sure but surmised that he went along the road toward Kingston Bagpuize, which place is south east of Longworth whereas Harrowdown Hill is to the north. The second point was the answer Ruth gave to the question about whether she had seen anyone between leaving home and bumping into Dr Kelly. She hadn't. Based on my own experience of village life there is often a lull in the afternoon when nobody seems to be about. I must admit I haven't checked on this but guess there isn't a village school at Longworth. If there was then this would have generated some activity in mid afternoon. I'm assuming that schools wouldn't have broken up by 17th July.

With nobody around on the streets Norman Baker's contention that Dr Kelly could have been quickly overpowered and abducted into a van say is only too possible in my opinion.


  1. There is actually a village school as marked
    here in Longworth.
    Mrs Kelly also had several visitors (who of course could have been witnesses) at an unspecified time after he went out as in the Independent's report of her testimony

  2. You can get an OS map of the area by clicking on the blown-up gridsquare below the photo
    I am surprised how little woodland there is in the area, the major piece being the clump at the top of Harrowden Hill.

  3. I have been examining what emerged in the newspapers, plus some extracts from Norman Baker's book.
    Mrs Kelly says that her husband suffered from Arthritis and his walks lasted usually no more than 25 minutes. That would seem to rule out a trip to Harrowdown Hill unless it was to commit suicide. You can see a google map of his village here
    What is implicit from Ruth Absalom is that Dr Kelly probably was walking in a clockwise direction across the A420 and back.The Kelly house was approximately where the Country House is marked, on the south side of the main road, opposite the pub, as seen on Google Street here
    The route suggested by Ruth was east along Draycott Road, Longworth, and then perhaps south to re-cross the A420. If he were to be abducted, a perfect place would have been at the top of Draycott Road, which accesses the main road by a pedestrian gate on either side. A thorough police investigation would of course, have appealed for people who may have seen him crossing the busy road here or any unusual activity in Draycott Road.
    The northern part of Draycott Road is not on google street, apart from the junction.

    Another puzzling thing is the witness who was allegedly the last person to see Dr Kelly. I suggest his sighting was before Ruth's - I can only discern that it was about 3pm (very early) and he was walking northwards across fields on the north of the A420 which might still put Dr Kelly south of Appleton Road. Perhaps that is why Paul Weaver was not called by Hutton. (how did the Paul Weaver sighting emerge into the public domain?) A contemporary Guardian report from a few days later is here
    That Dr Kelly's walks were so short, and he ought to have been home before 4PM, then the fact that the police weren't called until 11.45 (Guardian report) is baffling given his circumstances, job and profile.

  4. Apologies - the correct google street reference to the junction of Appleton and Draycott Roads is here