Sunday, 21 November 2010

When did the police decide Dr Kelly's death was suicide?

I've been reading the testimony of Sarah Pape, Dr Kelly's sister, with renewed interest.  Her evidence was taken by Mr Knox on the 1st September and followed the examination of Mrs Kelly by Mr Dingemans.  Mrs Pape is a consultant plastic surgeon based at Newcastle on Tyne and one would expect her evidence to be clear and precise but there are oddities in her testimony and some of these have been commented on by Felix, either on this blog or that of Andrew Watt: Chilcot's cheating us.  Sometime I must go through her testimony word by word but from what I've seen so far the peculiarities might just be down to a degree of confusion. 

On pages 92 and 93 of the transcripts Mrs Pape relates that she went into work on Friday 18th but she had been told that Dr Kelly was missing.  This is part of her testimony:

'I would rather have stayed at home by the phone in case there was any news. But there were patients that really I had to go and deal with so I went into work that morning.
Between operations I went back to my office and checked to see whether there were messages on my mobile phone and I picked up a message from Janice, my sister-in-law, shortly before 10 o'clock and the message that she left was to say that there was going to be a press release and that I might hear something about my brother having disappeared, but I knew that already so I was not too concerned.

I returned to my office between the next two operations, which would have been some time after 10 o'clock, and there was a message from my husband asking me to ring home. I initially thought he was just going to give me the same information, that the press would by now know. In fact when I rang him he told me that the police had found my brother's body and that it looked as though he had committed suicide.'

If we accept the veracity of Mrs Pape's evidence we have the almost unbelievable situation of someone in Thames Valley Police reckoning that Dr Kelly's death looked like a suicide, this judgement being made on that Friday morning.  Twenty four hours after Mrs Pape gave her evidence we have DS Webb from the police telling the Inquiry that he was tasked to return to the Kelly house from Abingdon to tell the Family that a body had been discovered, following that information being received at 9.20.  My guess is that one of the daughters, Rachel or Sian, took on the responsibility of phoning the Pape home with the dreadful news.

If DS Webb left for Southmoor fairly soon after 9.20 I would assume that he would have had a confirmatory message on the way based on information that DC Coe would have radioed or phoned in from Harrowdown Hill.  So was Mrs Pape mistaken in reporting what her husband said or did the police think that the death was a suicide based on the fact of some blood in the area of the left wrist and a bloodstained knife nearby? 


  1. Just a few points Brian - one minute the Kelly family are ringing Mrs Pape's mobile phone, next it is the family home when they know she is at work (and answering messages on the mobile phone).Obviously it wasn't the police phoning Mr Pape was it Mrs Kelly ringing Mr Pape with the "looks like suicide" news?
    Mrs Pape also says she half thought Dr Kelly was on his way to visit her until the daughter, Sian, told her the car and its keys were still there. That seems quite implausible to me to think he would drive to Northumberland without so much as a courtest phone call.
    Finally,Paras 94-6 seem to me quite ridiculous and contrived.

  2. Felix

    I agree that it wouldn't have been the police phoning Mrs Pape. So far as we know Rachel and Sian were at the Kelly house when DS Webb tells Mrs Kelly about a body believed to be that of her husband being found. I imagine that either Rachel or Sian would have got in touch with the Papes, rather than Mrs Kelly and so have no problem with them using the landline number instead.

    They may not have realised that Mrs Pape was at work, they may have thought that Mr Pape at least would likely be at home and that it was better to try and speak directly to someone rather than leave a message. The other thing is that the daughters might have felt very uncomfortable in speaking directly to Mrs Pape to deliver the sad news, might they not have been grateful to relay the information via Mr Pape?

  3. So can we docode this?
    Mrs Pape and the Kellys are at home on Friday Morning - and?
    Mrs Kelly rings Mrs Pape's mobile phone before 10 to say there would be a press release (see here) This is before the found body has been certified as dead and certainly a long time before formal identification (which in any case is never officially established).
    The message from Mrs Kelly before 10am to her mobile phone at the hospital doesn't come from Mrs Pape's home. It is direct. There is no record of an earlier call coming via her home.
    The second message comes via her home not directly. Who rings the home? We do not know. Did Mrs Pape acknowledge the first message at the hospital? We do not know.
    Mrs Pape goes home. And?? What does all this mean?
    There is a second press release on the Saturday ,after the Special Post Mortem, again by Supt Purnell, which for the first time indicates that the police are not looking for anyone else, i.e. suicide is assumed.
    Can someone decode it?

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