In my last entry I had looked at the evidence from Louise Holmes at the Hutton Inquiry, now it's the turn of her search partner Paul Chapman. Unsurprisingly the line of questioning (from Mr Dingemans this time) was not too different from that made by Mr Knox to Louise.
To avoid repetition from my last two posts I won't cover all the detail in Paul's evidence but there are one or two matters that I think are important to highlight. When he was asked about what the search dog Brock had found he answered "The body of a gentleman sitting up against a tree". Three questions later and he repeats his answer with the words "He was sitting with his back up against a tree ..." So we can see there is excellent correlation with the evidence from Louise in which as I have previously reported her words were "a body slumped against the bottom of a tree" and "... his head and his shoulders just slumped back against the tree".
In reply to a question about how close he got to the body Paul says "I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it". The previous question from Mr Dingemans was to ask Paul if he could recall what Dr Kelly was wearing to which Paul answered "All I could see from the distance I got was he was wearing a dark jacket and light coloured shirt". Logically with part of his upper body propped up against a tree it is the clothing related to that part of his body rather than his trousers that would be more observable from the distance mentioned.
It was Paul with a mobile phone who made contact with the police (they had to call him back) and the police asked the two searchers to go back down the lane to their car to make a rendezvous with them. However within two or three minutes of the phone call and the searchers setting off for their car they met three police officers coming towards them: these were DC Graham Coe, DC Shields and a third man whose identity is a mystery. When Mr Dingemans queried about how Paul knew they were police officers Paul stated that they had shown him their Thames Valley Police ID. There has been much speculation about who the unnamed third person was but for the purpose of this particular post I will just note that Paul didn't appear to have any problem with the identity of the three men. It seems that they were unaware that the body had been found or even that the searchers had been tasked to look for Dr Kelly.
Quite naturally it was agreed that Paul should go back with the officers to show them the body. In the event, on reaching the access point into the wood, it was decided that DC Coe alone would accompany Paul to the body. It will be noted that there was a very short period of a few minutes in which Dr Kelly's body had no known company and it might just be conceivable that in that narrow time window some "adjustments" were made by a person or persons unknown to for instance the position of the body. This like so many aspects of this business sounds far fetched and if Paul accompanied DC Coe to a point well within sight of the body I believe he would have noticed any significant change in body position.
In a previous post I had noted that the people on the boat moored on the Thames had reported seeing some police activity earlier and I'm just reiterating that bit of information now as it raises further questions about police operations at the time. Some folk I know have wondered about why the boat was moored at that location and believe that there could be some sort of sinister connection with Dr Kelly's death. It seems that the police didn't make any effort to find the 'boat people' but consider this: if they had been involved in any plot connected with Dr Kelly wouldn't they have just upped anchor and left long before the appearance of the searchers and their dog? And it seems bizarre for them to have mentioned any previous police activity near there with the possibility that further investigation could take place as a result of that information. Although the presence of the boat is yet another frustrating loose end in this mystery I can't really believe that those on board were involved in the death of Dr David Kelly.