Sunday, 7 November 2010

PC Franklin and a search for pills

We know from the evidence at the Inquiry that it was the Forensic Pathologist Dr Hunt who discovered the three blister packs of coproxamol in the pocket of Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket, this coat being part of the clothing worn by Dr Kelly.  So far as we can see there was no visible reason for anybody to expect to find any sort of medication at the Harrowdown Hill site.  Certainly Dr Kelly wasn't taking any medication in the period leading up to his death.

In PC Franklin's examination by Mr Dingemans we have this interesting exchange:

Q. When the forensic kit arrives and you start doing the fingertip search, do you start on the  common approach path?
A. I actually, as police search adviser, do not do the search; that was run by PC Sawyer.
Q. You watched them all doing it for you?
A. Some of the time. As police search adviser I have to liaise with the senior officers about the policies for the search and what we hope to get out of it, so I was backwards and forwards.
Q. What were you hoping to get out of this search?
A. We have to speak to the DCI initially and he wanted us to look for -- if again I may refer to my notes --  medicine or pill bottles, pills, pill foils or any receptacle or bag that may contain medicines.
Q. You are doing a search for that. Are you also looking for anything else?
A. Yes. The police search teams I work with would pick up anything that would be dropped by a human or out of the ordinary. Those are the items that were just specified to us, but as a search team we tend to look for anything that should not be there.

Further on in PC Franklin's testimony he is talking about a change in personnel for the fingertip search and we have this exchange:

Q. They carried out a fingertip search of that area?
A. They started at 19.24 hours and finished at 19.45 hours.
Q. Did they find anything?
A. Nothing.
Q. No sign of a struggle?
A. No.
Q. No other medicine bottles or anything?
A. No.

From other questioning of PC Franklin it is established that the DCI referred to in the first extract is DCI Alan Young.

In view of my opening remarks in this post I am very curious to know why DCI Young had placed particular emphasis on medicine bottles and the like.  A possibility would be that Mrs Kelly had noticed a depletion in her stock of prescribed coproxamol tablets and this fact relayed to the police with they in turn deducing that Dr Kelly may have had the missing pills with him.  A bit of a long shot but let us see if there is anything to support this theory.

There is an assumption by many that the blister packs in Dr Kelly's pocket originated from Mrs Kelly's supply.  There appears to be no confirmation that this was the case.  In his report Lord Hutton makes this statement:

It also appears probable that the Coproxamol tablets which Dr Kelly took just before his death came from a store of those tablets which Mrs Kelly, who suffered from arthritis, kept in their home.

Note the word 'probable'.

In her evidence Mrs Kelly doesn't definitively say that the tablets came from her store of them.  She 'assumed that'.  If Mrs Kelly wasn't guiding the police to the possibility that some of her tablets were missing then we are led to another rather alarming possibility: did DCI Young, the man in charge of "Operation Mason" have a reason to expect some evidence of pills or tablets to be found on or in the area of the body of Dr David Kelly?   


  1. That's a very comprehensive but extremely narrow shopping list for DCI Young to give PC Franklin at about 12.50pm on Friday 18 July 2003 when the only fact which had emerged so far was that a dead body had been found at about 9.30am and pronounced dead at 10.07.

  2. We are told the police searched the area around the body of Dr Kelly looking for: "medicine or pill bottles, pills, pill foils or any receptacle or bag that may contain medicines"
    They didn't search far enough, I did a fingertip search of the path from the wood all the way down to the river. It took me hours! I found 2 small bags that came from the pharmacist who prescribed Mrs Kelly's coproxamol. They were empty, they were hidden in the undergrowth, pushed into the hedge bottom about 100yards up from the river.

  3. Anonymous:
    Please explain how you knew that the bags came from the pharmacist who prescribed Mrs Kelly's coproxamol. When did you find them? Did you hand them in to anyone?

  4. Brian in the Tamar Valley.....
    If you want to know more feel free to contact me, Rowena Thursby will verify who I am.