Sunday, 3 October 2010

Searchers Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman (2)

In my last post I briefly related the part volunteer searchers Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman played in the search for Dr David Kelly (DK) up until the point that search dog Brock discovered his body. What happened next? Just before looking at this I'll just mention a question Louise was asked concerning how far into the wood they had gone before reaching DK's body. Her inquisitor (Mr Knox) asked if it was a mile or less than that, she replied "No, probably only about 200 metres". Mr Knox was quite wrong to even indicate a distance in my opinion, let alone one which he must have known was quite ludicrous. In the context of suggesting a mile the answer from Louise of 200 metres in a comparative sense might have appeared sensible. Knox should not have suggested any distance, all right it's a minor point I know. I wonder if Louise really meant 200 feet - this would tie in with other people talking about 60 or 70 metres.

Mr Knox goes on to ask Louise what she saw. She observed "a body slumped against the bottom of a tree". A little later that is reinforced by the words "He was at the base of the tree with almost his head and his shoulders just slumped back against the tree
". For the avoidance of any doubt you can see her being interviewed on YouTube: input Anthrax War 2/7 and it's about 6.30 in from the start; in this clip she again confirms the position of the body. (More sensible I suppose if I gave the link: it's here)

Back to Hutton and Mr Knox asks her about the position of DK's arms and legs. Significantly, in view of later testimonies, she describes his right arm as being to the side of him. She states that she moved closer to the body to see whether there was any first aid she needed to administer. Louise gets to within a few feet of him and is satisfied in her own mind that he is dead and therefore there is nothing she can do to help him. Mr Knox specifically asked her if she went up to the body itself and felt his pulse. Her reply was "I did not touch it, no". My internet chum had directed me to a forum which included discussion about whether DK's body had been moved: somebody suggested that Louise could have pulled the body away from the tree to check for signs of life but her evidence would suggest that she merely got close to DK and made a judgement that he was dead. I can't really imagine a reason why she would be untruthful about all this - nobody would have condemned her if she had touched the body to check for signs of life surely and a suggestion that she would have pulled the body clear of the tree beggars belief.

DK's watch, a knife and a water bottle were all found close to the body; it is surprising is it not that Louise didn't notice them or, at least, made no reference to them at the Inquiry - assuming of course that they were there at that time.

I will be looking at Paul's evidence in my next post.


  1. I had made a reference above to Louise appearing in an interview on YouTube. I hadn't been watching the series of videos titled "Anthrax War" - it was just good fortune that someone in a forum had flagged up that she had restated her evidence about the position of the body in that particular video.

  2. The useful discussion thread on Dr Kelly's body being moved or not on the James Randi Educational Forum is here