Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sergeant Alan Dadd

This will be a short post because the person concerned, Sergeant Alan Dadd hardly got a mention at the time in relation to the death of Dr David Kelly.

So far as I can see he is mentioned just once in the Hutton Inquiry and that's in this bit of testimony by PC Sawyer.  Mr Knox has got to the point where the ambulance crew have arrived at the parking area at the bottom of the track:

Q. Those two paramedics had obviously arrived separately from you?
A. They had arrived more or less at the same time we did. So the five of us went up because we were with Sergeant Alan Dadd as well.

In the Mail on Sunday of 12 September 2010 Matt Sandy wrote an article from the perspective of the ambulance crew and says:

They were met at the scene by Sergeant Alan Dadd and several other officers.  He led them up a bridle path towards the woods ...

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong but I'm not aware of his name elsewhere in connection with Dr Kelly's death.  As I recall things PC Franklin takes over the scene at the body from DC Coe only to leave the site to go back down the track with PC Sawyer to bring up the police landrover!  Surely as the more senior officer Sergeant Dadd should have taken charge - at least until DI Ashley Smith or some other higher ranking officer came.

But this is Thames Valley Police where nothing is normal ..... 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

DC2368 COE

'I wish to further that I showed the body to DC2368 COE at 09.40 hrs.'  This sentence comes from the police witness statement of search volunteer Paul Chapman as quoted in Annex TVP1 on the Attorney General's site. (I'm assuming that in fact the word "state" or similar should follow the word "further").

It's the really small details that so often can be telling and here I'm fascinated by DC Coe's number being quoted.  This is the link to Annex TVP1 by the way

Mr Dingemans is taking Paul Chapman's evidence at the Inquiry and after ascertaining that the two volunteer searchers go back with a police officer to Abingdon to make their statements we have this exchange:

Q. You made your statement and then go off to work?
A. It was mid afternoon by the time we had finished there. I actually had a day off as I was going away to cub camp for the weekend. 

From a Freedom of Information request we now know that DC Coe was logged out of the outer cordon at 11.47 am which is much much later than we were led to believe.
Bearing in mind that Mr Chapman went with DC Coe to the body who more suitable some might ask than DC Coe to "assist" Paul Chapman in producing an accurate statement of his involvement in the events of that morning and after he has had time to return to Abingdon?

With DC Coe being in plain clothes how would Paul Chapman have known his number.  Possibly it was on Coe's ID card and Paul recalled it.  I don't really think that's likely.  If DC Coe took the statement perhaps Mr Coe's number was then visible.  Perhaps Mr Coe added his number to the statement almost as a reflex action; after all Coe was well into his fifties at the time and would be very used to thinking of his number as a means of identification I suggest.

My supposition outlined above about who took the statement is speculation on my part.  I just find it extremely odd that Paul Chapman would have said 'DC2368 COE'

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Mr Grieve is asked to withdraw his dishonest decision

On Thursday 9th June the Attorney General lied to Parliament regarding the matter of the death of Dr David Kelly.  On the same day he wrote what I consider to be a dishonest statement on the same subject.  The verbal statement with questions and answers from MPs is on hansard here  To access Mr Grieve's written statement go here

Dr Andrew Watt has today written formally to Dominic Grieve asking him whether or not he will withdraw the decision he made on 9th June.  If Mr Grieve were to do so it would obviously save the time that would be spent by the High Court considering a Judicial Review.  Mr Grieve should also realise that the longer he persists with the ridiculous position he adopted on 9th June then the more that the status of his own position and, in the long term, the office of Attorney General is undermined.

Andrew's letter to Mr Grieve can be read on his blog

Working link to Hutton Inquiry website

I'm aware that there has been considerable concern (shared by me) about the non availability of the Hutton website when trying to access it in the normal way.  This has been a problem it would seem from very early last Thursday 25 August right up until the time of writing this post.

Fortunately I now know that there is an archived version at  I hope this helps anyone looking for the site. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Why didn't Mrs Kelly return on the 15th July?

There are many aspects of the testimony from Mrs Kelly on the 1st September 2003 which, at a minimum, strike me as very odd.  I am now going to describe one of these, an interesting point which so far as I am aware has never been raised before.  It must be emphasised that in my opinion "odd" doesn't necessarily equate with "sinister" although it might do.

The relevant part of the official narrative, in summary, goes like this:  Nick Rufford, a Sunday Times journalist, turns up at the gate to the Kelly home at about 7.30 pm on Wednesday 9th July.  He spoke to Dr Kelly and Mrs Kelly states that Mr Rufford tells him 'the press were on their way in droves'.  She knows of somewhere they can go to in Cornwall to escape the press; they quickly pack and head west staying at Weston-Super-Mare that night before continuing to their destination on the 10th.  Moving on to Friday 11th and it is agreed that Dr Kelly would appear before both the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and the televised Foreign Affairs Select Committee (FAC).

I am not absolutely certain about whether, when Dr Kelly on the 11th agreed to appear before both committees, it had been decided that they would both be on Tuesday 15th but certainly on Monday 14th it was clearly the intention that both committee meetings would be on that same day.

Going back to the preceding Sunday we gather that Dr Kelly left Cornwall alone to drive to Oxford to stay with his daughter Rachel.  He would use the train to go up to London for his appearance before the two committees.  During this time his wife Janice would stay down in Cornwall.

One argument is that it was surprising that Mrs Kelly stayed behind rather than accompanying him to give moral support.  Putting aside for a moment my belief that the marriage was in turmoil it might anyway be the case that if both Dr and Mrs Kelly were highly stressed with the thought of Dr Kelly appearing under the scrutiny of TV cameras it could be that the stress levels would be magnified if they were in close proximity to each other.  Thus I believe that the fact that Janice Kelly didn't go to Oxford with her husband that Sunday is not so inexplicable as might first appear.

Tuesday dawns and, so far as Mrs Kelly knows, her husband is attending both committees that day.  It is also by coincidence the Kelly's 36th wedding anniversary.  This is what Janice says about the 15th: 'This was our 36th wedding anniversary and I was constantly thinking of him all day'.  On the evening of the 14th Janice would have believed that within 24 hours both committees would be out of the way and some sort of normality could be resumed.  So on that basis why didn't she arrange to get the train to Oxford on the Tuesday, they could celebrate their anniversary with a meal at the home of their daughter and her fiancee, but no she stays on in Cornwall.

I have wondered for some time whether Janice Kelly was reading her testimony from a prepared script - one reason possibly to keep her out of view of reporters.  This extract of her evidence I found particularly fascinating:

Q. What were you doing on the Friday?
A.  On the Friday we decided to go to the Lost Gardens of Heligan.  It was only a short drive so we thought that would be apt after the long day or two before.
Q.  That is what, some gardens you can walk around?
A.  That is right, yes.
Q.  And did you have lunch there?
A.  I am not sure whether we did or not.  No, I think we went back home - we spent a long morning there during which he had taken a call from several people from MOD explaining about the Foreign Affairs Committee on the Tuesday and an Intelligence Committee the following Wednesday.
Q.  Do you know who the calls were from?
A.  Certainly one was from Bryan Wells.  I am not sure if it was Bryan who told him that the former Foreign Affairs Committee would be televised. 

Not a too reliable witness linking the Tuesday and Wednesday committee meetings to her evidence of the situation on Friday 11th July (assuming that on that day they had decided that the two meetings would both be on the same day).  If she was reading her evidence from a prepared script all I can say is that she didn't have a very good script writer. 


Waiting for the Chief Constable to respond

On 16 June I wrote to Thames Valley Police regarding the change in evidence of DC Coe regarding Dr Kelly's body position.  I have yet to receive a considered reply although they treated a question in my letter as an FOI request and responded to that in isolation.  Of course if I wanted to make an FOI request I would have done that using the recognised procedure and I do not consider the procedure used by TVP as acceptable.

I have today written to TVP again in order to try and elicit a proper reply.  The text of the email is as follows:

Appended below is the email sent to you on 16 June 2011.  This is now over two months ago and I have yet to receive a reply to this letter.  I am concerned about this very long delay and ask whether you are now in a position to respond.
Brian Spencer
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:10 PM
Subject: Dr Kelly's death - conflicting evidence from DC Coe as to body position

Chief Constable, DCC Habgood, ACC Ball
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve made a statement to the House of Commons on 9th June 2011 concerning the death of Dr David Kelly. 
Despite evidence to the contrary Mr Grieve asserted that the body hadn't been moved. 
This communication looks at the evidence given by DC Coe, the first police officer to see the body, as to his description of the body position and that seemingly subsequent to his police witness statement he depicts it as being seen in a different position.
In Annex TVP1  submitted to the Attorney General's Office we have sight of DC Coe's police statement.  In it he says 'I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back'
At the Hutton Inquiry this is the question and answer in DC Coe's testimony that deals with the body position: 
8 Q. And how was the body positioned?
9 A. It was laying on its back -- the body was laying on its
10 back by a large tree, the head towards the trunk of the
11 tree.
On 8 August 2010 an interview of DC Coe (retired) appeared in The Mail on Sunday.  In annex TVP1 you focus on "The Third Man" who was with DC Coe, the admitted evidence of a third man having come into the public domain via this article.  Annex TVP1 states that 'DC Coe was interviewed on the 25th August 2010 in response to the Mail story'
Assuming a reasonable level of competence on the part of the interviewing officer(s) then they would have read the article in its entirety and discussed any aspects of the piece in the Mail on Sunday with DC Coe that were in conflict with his police evidence statement or other known evidence not just the matter of "The Third Man".  In the article these are the quoted words by DC Coe relating to the body position:
'As I got closer, I could see Dr Kelly's body sideways on, with his head and shoulders against a large tree.  He wasn't dead flat along the ground.  If you wanted to die, you'd never lie flat out.  But neither was he sat upright'
This description exactly matches that given by Louise Holmes, the first person to see the body.  Ms Holmes gets to within four feet of the body and is consistent in her police statement evidence and her testimony at the Hutton Inquiry.  Nevertheless in Annex TVP3 you are implying it seems to me that her evidence regarding the body position can't be right and should be disregarded.  About 45 minutes after the body discovery ambulance technician Dave Bartlett is able to stand and work in the space between Dr Kelly's head and the tree. 
I do not believe that at a distance of four feet from the body Ms Holmes would think the head and shoulders were slumped against the tree if the body was a significant distance from the tree.
I should like to be informed as to whether the interviewing officer(s) did discuss the body position with DC Coe in the light of his quoted remarks in The Mail on Sunday.  It would be a matter of great concern surely if the matter wasn't discussed.  There is no suggestion in your submissions to the Attorney General that the point was put to DC Coe.  I have therefore to pose the question as to whether Thames Valley Police misled the Attorney General regarding the vital question as to whether the body was moved.
I am copying this email to the Attorney General's office.  It will also appear on my blog  Blind copies are being sent to others who I feel might have a particular interest in the content. 
Brian Spencer

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dominic Grieve and Paragraph 151 of the Hutton Report

On his "Chilcott's Cheating Us" blog Andrew Watt put up a fascinating post yesterday: 
Andrew had seen his MP following the statement of the Attorney General Dominic Grieve on the 9th June 2011 to express his concerns about what Grieve had said.  The MP wrote to the Prime Minister who evidently passed the letter on to the Attorney General, now Andrew has heard back from his MP with Mr Grieve's reply.

Part of Grieve's letter referred to paragraph 151 in Chapter 5 of Lord Hutton's Report of 28 January 2004For ease of reference this is the whole of 151:

  151.  Those who try cases relating to a death or injury (whether caused by crime or accident) know that entirely honest witnesses often give evidence as to what they saw at the scene which differs as to details. In the evidence which I heard from those who saw Dr Kelly's body in the wood there were differences as to points of detail, such as the number of police officers at the scene and whether they were all in uniform, the amount of blood at the scene, and whether the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly's body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree - therefore a witness could say either that the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree. These differences do not cause me to doubt that no third party was involved in Dr Kelly's death.

Andrew quotes from Grieve's letter as follows:

As I made clear in my statement to the House, the evidence supported the fact that Dr. Kelly took his own life is overwhelming. In particular, the forensic evidence supports the conclusion that Dr. Kelly died in the position in which his body was found. It is not for me to explain what Lord Hutton intended in making the comment he did in paragraph 151 of his report but I have seen the photographs that were before Lord Hutton and I believe what he meant was that when seen from different angles, the body might have appeared to be slumped against a tree. Reading paragraph 151 in its entirety does not suggest that Lord Hutton believed the body had been moved."

This is the first time I have seen reference to paragraph 151 by Grieve although I never doubted that he was familiar with it.  In my opinion the paragraph is one of the most important in the whole Report - Hutton realises that there were many conflicts in the evidence which he made no effort to resolve and so he felt obliged I think to make a comment to, apart from anything else, get himself off the hook.

In view of the importance of the content of the paragraph Hutton, I'm sure, would have weighed his words carefully.  Taking his comment about the photograph of the body position at face value leads me to say that there is no ambiguity about what Hutton says he saw.  That Hutton blatantly lied I have no doubt, I don't believe he did see a photograph as described.

If it wasn't for the seriousness of the matter Grieve's interpretations could be seen as highly comical.  Let's say that Grieve is right about what Hutton meant: why wouldn't have Hutton used a form of words to reflect that meaning?  Grieve says 'I believe what he meant ...'  So how can Grieve say with conviction that the body hadn't been moved when he himself indicates uncertainty about the meaning of Hutton's words?

Hutton himself is now in a very serious predicament.  He has either premeditately lied about the photo or, supposing such a photo does exist, then he must surely have looked at the other photos as seen by Dr Shepherd showing the head a significant distance from the tree.  Whichever alternative is the case he has totally misled the public in my opinion.  

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Why choose Lord Hutton to chair the Inquiry?

This is what Mr Grieve says in his written statement of 9 June 2011 about Lord Falconer's choice of person to chair the Inquiry:

Lord Falconer cannot be criticised for his choice of Chairman for the Inquiry.  Lord Hutton was, at the time, a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.  He had had a distinguished career at the Bar, as a judge, and later as Chief Justice for Northern Ireland.  Whilst he had not previously sat as a Coroner, he was not unfamiliar with Coronial law and practice.  As a Northern Ireland judge he had presided over many juryless, terrorist connected trials in which he, as judge, determined the facts as well as the law, rendering him particularly qualified to take on the inquisitorial role required by the Inquiry.  It should also be also be recognised that a number of judges have recently sat as Coroners, notably in the Inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed and, more recently, in respect of the London bombings of 7th July 2005.  Lord Hutton was assisted in carrying out the Inquiry by a formidable legal team headed by a senior Silk.

It's instructive to read what was said at the Select Committee on Public Administration held on 25 May 2004 (approx 10 months after Dr Kelly's death).  The witness was one Lord Falconer of Thoroton  Questions 173 to 175 are particularly pertinent regarding Lord Hutton's appointment although the whole session with Falconer is interesting.

Lord Falconer states about Hutton 'he was a senior judge of unimpeachable standing'.  We then have a humorous aside from the Chairman saying  'You are not suggesting, by the way, that there are some judges of impeachable standing are you?' to which of course Falconer had to reply 'No'. 

In actual fact Hutton was "tainted" before conducting the InquiryWhat Falconer didn't say on 25 May 2004 and what Grieve never said on 9 June 2011 was that, as Brian Hutton, he represented the Ministry of Defence at the now totally discredited Widgery Inquiry following the "Bloody Sunday" shootings in Londonderry on 30 January 1972.  Maybe in 1972 Hutton was only doing what he was paid to do but it is clear that he was demonstrably part of the cover up relating to the Bloody Sunday business.  In 2003 following Dr Kelly's death it was again the MoD who were under the spotlight.  It goes against the whole concept of natural justice in my opinion to appoint Hutton to head the Inquiry, a man who had been a previous employee of the MoD and who had been party to one of the most notorious cover ups of recent times.

I am grateful to Andrew Watt who had drawn attention to this earlier chapter of Hutton's life, see his "Chilcot's Cheating Us" blog  Notice in particular what Hutton had to say to the Londonderry coroner Major Hubert O'Neill.  Perhaps it was this background that led to Falconer very quickly deciding that Hutton was his man for the job.

Putting aside the Widgery Inquiry connection for a moment there are two other reasons that for me suggest Hutton shouldn't have been asked to chair the Inquiry.  Firstly it was known that Hutton was due to retire in less than 6 months from his appointment by Falconer.  Even with the intention of expediting the Inquiry as quickly as possible it was obvious that the risk existed of the Inquiry going beyond his retirement date.  And so it happened: Lord Hutton officially retired as a judge on 11 January 2004 and before he presented his Report on 28 January.

The other thing I want to mention is that Hutton's only experience in chairing an inquiry concerned drainage works in a river in Northern Ireland, and that's it.  In a new post I will discuss how some aspects of Hutton's inexperience became only too clear.

At question 190 in the Committee hearing Falconer states that the number of experienced judges that could have run the Inquiry was in the tens yet it seems that he really only considered Hutton.

Mr Grieve - Lord Falconer can be criticised for his choice of Chairman for the Inquiry.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Lord Falconer did not act "entirely reasonably"

In his written statement of 9 June 2011, as opposed to his verbal statement of the same date, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve wrote:

The then Secretary of State (and Lord Chancellor),Lord Falconer, acted entirely reasonably in exercising his powers to set up an Inquiry and in exercising the statutory powers,given to him by Parliament, to suspend the Inquest opened by the Oxfordshire Coroner and transferring responsibility for investigating the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death to the Inquiry. The Secretary of State cannot be criticised for the proper exercise of his discretion.

Was Mr Grieve right?  I suggest that the answer is a resounding "No".  Going to the Guardian website there is a story timed at 15.08 on 18 July 2003:  These are the first two paragraphs from it -

Tony Blair has promised an independent judicial inquiry if David Kelly has died, journalists travelling with the prime minister on his flight from Washington to Tokyo have said.

His spokesman, Godric Smith, came to the back of the plane less than an hour ago to announce the possible inquiry.

So between 14.08 and 15.08 Godric Smith speaking for Mr Blair announced there would be an independent judicial inquiry.  Holding of an Inquiry clearly would only make sense if it had been established that Dr Kelly had committed suicide. There is no legitimate way that Mr Blair, in the air on the way to Tokyo, could have known at the time Godric Smith was talking to journalists that Dr Kelly had committed suicide. The forensic pathologist and forensic scientist didn't start their examination until 14.10, the post mortem wasn't completed until 00.15 the following day.  On the 18th the police were putting out the message that it was an unexplained death, in other words it was possible that Dr Kelly's demise resulted from foul play.

Dr Kelly's death was clearly an unusual one and, as such, the established legal process of an inquest should have taken place. At the conclusion of the inquest and, no doubt depending on the verdict reached, it would then have been open to the government to hold an inquiry. That was self evidently the correct procedure to follow, to complete the inquest before any inquiry was started.  In fact this is so obvious when one thinks about it but like many obvious things missed in particular by the media.

On 21 July 2003 it would seem that Lord Hutton was expecting an inquest to go ahead in the normal way because, in a press statement of that date, he says:

I intend to sit in public in the near future to state how I intend to conduct the Inquiry and to consider the extent to which interested parties and bodies should be represented by counsel or solicitors. In deciding on the date when I will sit I will obviously wish to take into account the date of Dr Kelly''s funeral and the timing of the inquest into his death.

Mr Grieve states that Lord Falconer invoked section 17A of the Coroners Act on 12 August 2003. A letter was sent to the Oxfordshire Coroner announcing that decision. This letter from Sarah Albon, Principal Private Secretary to Lord Falconer was copied to Lord Hutton. Lord Hutton didn't make a statement as to the change of status of his Inquiry at his sittings, nor was there a press notice about it on the Inquiry website.

It was known that Lord Hutton was taking evidence that wasn't under oath or affirmation, which would be a requirement at an inquest. By the time that Lord Falconer had invoked section 17A of the Coroners Act Lord Hutton had started taking evidence and it is a matter of common sense that the Inquiry couldn't change to taking evidence on oath at that stage. It was irrational for Lord Falconer to invoke section 17A in this instance knowing full well that the Inquiry would be inferior to an inquest in that evidence wouldn't be under oath or affirmation. Grieve knows full well that it's inadequate to have an Inquiry with testimony that's not under oath but doesn't discuss this matter in his statement to the House, it is only in his written statement that it is out in the open.

Mr Grieve - you are absolutely wrong in that part of your written statement about Lord Falconer.

Monday, 18 July 2011

It was eight years ago today

A short post just to remind us all that it was exactly eight years ago that search dog Brock found the body of Dr David Kelly.  That was Friday 18th July 2003.  An inquest was opened and adjourned on Monday 21st July.  I don't have to remind you that a complete inquest is still awaited.

Last November I wrote a post with a link to a video: an interview with David Kelly made during the month preceding his death.  On this anniversary it seems to me to be appropriate to provide that link again.  This is the one 

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Dr Kelly's multi coloured cap

In a comment on my last post, in which I had been discussing Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket, Lancashire Lad remarked on the Barbour cap found near the body.  I had previously written about this cap but at that time didn't have the benefit of seeing the report of the forensic biologist Mr Green

On 25 July 2003 the cap was one of a substantial number of items received by Mr Green from the police.  Reference the ground beneath the cap:

Areas of possible vomit-like staining were observed on both sides of deceased's face coming from the mouth, on the jacket and on the ground partially covered by the cap. 

I believe that Mr Green's report was scanned as I am unable to copy it in the normal way.  The cap information is on page 17 of 20 of the pdf file and can be accessed from the link already given.  The first sentence I will repeat here though:

Item (AMH.6) was the brown, blue, red and white checked "Barbour" cap, which was found near the deceased's left shoulder.

This description took me by surprise as I had just assumed it was a single coloured cap.  This shows the danger of making assumptions of course.  Lancashire Lad provided a link that shows what such a cap might have looked like

Enlarging on what Dr Hunt said in his report we learn from Mr Green that the inside of the cap was heavily stained with smears of blood, also that the underside of the peak bore smears of blood.  It seems very likely that this was Dr Kelly's blood from tests carried out on one of the bloodstains inside the cap.

DNA tests from a non bloodstained area inside the cap indicated the presence of two sets of DNA, one of which was Dr Kelly.  Mr Green also says that the other, minor, contributor to the DNA mix could have been a female.

Dr Hunt dealt with this cap in two sentences in his report:

Lying adjacent to the left shoulder/upper arm was a 'Barbour' cap with the lining side uppermost.  There was blood over the lining and also the peak.

It needs to be remembered that a flat cap was present in the game pocket of the Barbour jacket.

Roy Green is a forensic scientist, Dr Hunt is a forensic pathologist, yet neither of them seems to have considered why the blood was present on the cap.  This is so typical of the slip shod way the investigation was carried out followed by the totally inadequate Inquiry.  It's as if the evidence of blood on the cap can't be made to fit in with the suicide hypothesis so this oddity is then ignored.  What a shambles!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket

This post will focus on whether Dr Kelly left home on the afternoon of 17th July wearing his Barbour jacket or whether this jacket was taken to Harrowdown Hill say, by a third party on the morning of the 18th, and it then slipped on him.

The reasoning I believe that has been used to suggest the second alternative can be summarised as follows:  (1) some early press reports, I can't recall exactly which ones at the moment, reported Dr Kelly leaving his home without a coat.  (2) This was the middle of a warm July, would Dr Kelly have worn a Barbour jacket in such weather?

Regarding the first point there definitely seem to be have been some problems with what the press were saying on the day Dr Kelly's body was discovered and immediately after.   Dr Kelly was found face down, or his body was found curled up are examples.  Another one was that he had supposedly been discovered at 8.30 rather than 9.15.  How did these stories originate?

If Dr Kelly really hadn't been wearing his Barbour jacket who would have observed this fact?  So far as I can see Mrs Kelly doesn't make any reference to this coat at the Inquiry. 

According to Mr Green's report Dr Kelly's shirt was a short sleeved one and I don't find anything that odd about a Barbour jacket being worn as an outer garment.  People can become particularly attached to an item of clothing to the extent of almost always wearing it virtually regardless of temperature for instance.

In the "Schedule of responses to issues raised", part of the  the bundle of documents provided to the Attorney General, they deal with the Barbour jacket matter as follows (Questions 40, 51 & 52):

Q. Hutton did not investigate what clothing Dr Kelly was found in. The Inquiry heard that Dr Kelly was found wearing a Barbour type jacket. In conflict with this, contemporaneous reports in newspapers claimed he was found in cotton shirt and jeans

A. The following clothes were recovered from the body of Dr Kelly;
A green 'Barbour' waxed jacket;
A blue, grey and white-striped shirt;
A pair of blue denim jeans;

A brown leather belt with a white metal buckle which was done up at the waist. On the brown leather belt, over the right hip area, was a 'Virgin Atlantic', Velcro closed pouch;
A pair of beige socks;
Underpants; and,
A pair of walking-type boots, brown leather, with the laces done up in
double bows.

Ruth Absalom gave oral evidence at the Hutton Inquiry and said the
following of the clothing;
Q. How was he dressed?
A. Normally. I did not take that much notice.
Q. Do you remember whether he was wearing a jacket or ...?
A. Well, he had obviously got a jacket on but whether it was a suit or an odd jacket and odd trousers I have no idea. We just stopped, said hello, had a chat about nothing in particular.

In her police statement she said, “He was wearing a light coloured shirt and what appeared to be a tweed jacket that was open at the front. I cannot remember what else he was wearing….”

It is apparent that the meeting of Dr Kelly and Mrs Absalom was of little significance to Mrs Absalom at the time and her description of the clothing is vague. However, she does mention a jacket in both accounts which does not confirm the press reports that Dr Kelly was wearing only a cotton shirt and jeans.

                         - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Q. It was recorded that Dr Kelly was found wearing a Barbour jacket. However readings from
Radcliffe Meteorological Centre – about 7 miles from Southmoor, reported that July was warmer than average and would have been a minimum of 16C when he left for his walk. There was no rain. Why wear a Barbour jacket rather than simply a jersey.

A The observation is speculative. The Inquiry into how Dr Kelly came by his death was thorough and exhaustive. Thames Valley Police conducted their investigation as a potential homicide investigation. All relevant matters were pursued and investigated. Dr Kelly was found wearing a Barbour jacket. It was open and he had only a shirt on beneath it.

                                 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Q. Mrs Kelly described him changing into jeans and (walking?) shoes but did not mention the
jacket. The report in the Guardian stated that Dr Kelly had left home in just a cotton shirt and

A. See above. There is no source given for the report in The Guardian and is contrary to the evidence given by Ruth Absalom that Dr Kelly was wearing a jacket.

                                - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

In the first question it can be seen that Mr Dingemans is perhaps keen to establish with Mrs Absalom that she saw that Dr Kelly was wearing a jacket but with her witness statement to look at there may be nothing untoward with his line of questioning.

My own feeling is that Dr Kelly was wearing his Barbour jacket when he left the house but really I don't think we can be sure.  Certainly I know that there are some who are dubious about the reliability of Ruth Absalom's testimony.

Whether David Kelly regularly wore his Barbour on his country walks is something that Mrs Kelly could have helpfully told us. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

Dr Kelly's wallet

Surprise had been expressed in a comment some time ago on this or another blog that there was no mention of a wallet or other identification on the body of Dr Kelly.

Looking at the latest  batch of responses from Thames Valley Police I'm pleased to see that somebody has raised this very matter.  The questioner had raised other points which won't be covered in this particular post.

These are the questions and answers relating to the wallet and ID:

Q  Was a wallet found on or close to Dr Kelly's body at Harrowdown Hill on 18 July 2003?
A  No

Q  Was any form of identification found on Dr Kelly's body at Harrowdown Hill?
A  No

Q  Was Dr Kelly's wallet found at a location other than Harrowdown Hill?  If so, at what location and on what date was it found?
A  Dr Kelly's wallet was found by his family on the dining table of his house prior to them reporting him missing.

Probably many people would be surprised that Dr Kelly wasn't carrying any identification on him although I don't have too much of a problem with this. 

The thing I found more interesting was the location of the wallet in the house.  Leaving his wallet on the table seems odd to me in view of my perception of Dr Kelly being meticulous.  The best possible explanation I can come up with at the moment is that he put it on the table preparatory to putting his Barbour jacket on.  We know he took a phone call just before 3 o'clock.  Did this distract him and he just forgot to put it in his pocket before he exited the front door?

Perhaps the unexpected appearance of Mrs Kelly who heard the phone ring and came downstairs to answer it also upset his normal thought processes.

The fact that the key fob, spectacles (no sign of their case), blister packs and mobile phone were jangling together in one pocket is also very surprising.

Dr Hunt made a lot of the fact that the spectacles weren't on Dr Kelly's face when he examined him and that, in his opinion, he removed them at the time he was allegedly cutting his wrist.  Did Thames Valley police find an empty spectacles case in the Kelly home when they made their extensive search of the premises?  True to form the question wasn't asked at the Inquiry. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

'An old curving scar'

In his report Dr Hunt, as one would hope, goes in to some detail as to his observations of the body at the post mortem.  Under 'Scars' he writes:

  • Two vaccination scars over the left, upper arm
  • An old, curving scar around the outer aspect of the right elbow
  • There was scars representing possible calluses or treated warts over the inner aspect of the tips of both thumbs
I'm not a medical man but it seems that most of the examination didn't occasion much excitement apart from the wounds to the left wrist of course.  However a "one off" scar was something a bit special I would have thought, particularly as it had the potential in this instance to raise the question of whether there might be a restriction on the use of the right arm.

Dr Hunt had a sizable audience to witness the post mortem.  They included the Chief Investigating Officer DCI Young, 4 SOCOs and 3 detective constables.  The presence of the old curving scar must have produced some interest I would have thought.  This wasn't a case of Dr Hunt just noting it and then failing to appraise DCI Young on a later occasion because everybody was there!

Surely the police would have said to Dr Hunt  'I think we need to check this out before you write up your report'.  They could have approached Dr Warner and Mrs Kelly to find out some background as to why the scar was there.  In fact it was the result of an accident in late 1991 that led to surgery and then physiotherapy being carried out.

We know that Dr Hunt wrote his preliminary report for the coroner on Saturday 19 July.  It very much looks as if no subsequent investigation into the presence of the scar was carried out after the post mortem, at least there is no public record of this.  The scar wasn't discussed at the Inquiry.

If it hadn't been for the publication of Dr Hunt's report last October we would have been none the wiser as to the presence of 'an old curving scar'.


Further thoughts on Mrs Kelly's co-proxamol

A couple of days ago I put up a post about Mrs Kelly's co-proxamol tablets From that post and subsequent comments it can be seen that no proof whatsoever has been produced linking the blister packs in the Barbour jacket pocket with the tablets in the two locations in the Kelly home.

This is what we read in Chapter 5 Paragraph 147 of Lord Hutton's Report:

  147.  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. In a statement furnished to the Inquiry Detective Constable Eldridge stated:

At 1000hrs on Thursday 7th AUGUST 2003 I was on duty at Long Hanborough Incident Room when I removed from secure storage the following items for examination:—


2.  Exhibit NCH/17/2 CO-PROXAMOL BLISTER PACKETS FRONT BOTTOM BELLOWS POCKET these had been removed from Dr KELLY'S coat pocket by the Pathologist
On examining both items I saw that they were identical. They were marked M & A Pharmacy Ltd and had the wording CO-PROXAMOL PL/4077/0174 written on the foil side of each of the blister type packs.

I can say that enquiries have been made with M & A PHARMACHEM who are the manufacturers of CO-PROXAMOL. The batch number shown on the tablets in our possession was checked with a view to tracing the chemist that these tablets had been purchased from. I can say that this batch number relates to approximately 1.6 million packets of tablets that will have been distributed to various chemists throughout the country.

It was way back in November last year that Andrew Watt had pointed out that the "PL" number was the Product License Number  On the face of it DC Eldridge was asking the wrong question!
Lord Hutton uses the word 'probable' in his first sentence.  At an inquest a verdict of suicide would demand proof beyond reasonable doubt.  I submit that if it can't be clearly shown that the blister packs found in the jacket pocket originated from Mrs Kelly's supply then the suicide hypothesis is fatally undermined.  Also there is this in the sparse testimony of Dr Kelly's GP Dr Warner:

Q. Did you ever have to prescribe Coproxamol to Dr Kelly?
A. No.

No proof at all has been demonstrated that the "jacket pocket tablets" came from Mrs Kelly's supply, there is no evidence that the police properly looked into the matter and Mr Dingemans posed something of a leading question on the subject at the inquiry.  Whereas the co-proxamol has played "second fiddle" to the knife wounds the co-proxamol evidence has to be similarly viable for a suicide conclusion to be reached.  
Put simply: the origin of the co-proxamol constituents found in Dr Kelly's body cannot be positively linked to the tablets in Mrs Kelly's supply.  This being the case the conclusion that Dr Kelly committed suicide cannot be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Is this the communications mast?

We know from a Freedom of Information Request made, I think, by Norman Baker that a 110 ft high communication mast was erected at the Kelly home.  The picture in this link might just be showing it:  The photograph was I suppose taken in July 2003 as one can see a police presence even though the related story is from the following December.

The ground underneath Dr Kelly's body

The various witnesses who describe the ground conditions around Dr Kelly's body, either when at the Hutton Inquiry or elsewhere, don't seem to be of one accord.  From my observations the floor of a particular wood can be remarkably consistent or highly variable regarding its vegetation.  In the case of the wood on Harrowdown Hill I would expect considerable variability because of more than one species of tree, trees spaced unevenly and the hill being exposed to weather from all directions.  Add in the known badger activity in the wood leading to some areas of bare ground and one could well imagine that the vegetation underfoot might not be consistent over the area of this particular wood.

The following extracts from the interview of DC Coe (retired) in the Mail on Sunday of 8 August 2010 certainly have a ring of truth about them:

I had to pick my way through brambles and nettles but it wasn’t impassable.

He was lying in the dirt near the base of the tree – in the area where there’s no undergrowth. 

Rather confusingly we have forensic biologist Roy Green saying in his report:

He was lying on his back in the undergrowth of nettles and brambles.

Later Mr Green says:

The leaf litter nature of the ground meant that it would have been very absorbent to blood. 

At the Inquiry Mr Dingemans helpfully suggests to Mr Green that this leaf litter acted perhaps like blotting paper.

There's a particular section of Mr Green's report which aids the identification of the area of the wood where the body was found:

On the edge of the wood there was a wooden gate which opened off the bridle path and gave access to a field.  The deceased had been found approximately 100 metres further up the bridle path and then up to the left into the wood.

Somewhat supporting DC Coe's newspaper description Dr Hunt in his report says:

The body had also acquired some soiling with dirt from the process of undressing at the scene and from movement into the body bag.

At the Inquiry PC Franklin says:

We walked between 50 and 70 metres into the wood up a slight gradient, and in a clearing at the base of a tree was the body of a white male.

My overall impression regarding the position of where the body was found is that there was little or no vegetation underneath the body, some leaf litter in the vicinity but minimal depth certainly at that time of year not deep leaf mould.  Vanessa Hunt talks of some nettles with blood on them near the body.  PC Sawyer indicates that the area beyond the bottle is well nigh impenetrable brambles and undergrowth but how far either side of the body position isn't known.

Finally on page 54 of his book Norman Baker, having been to Harrowdown Hill, emphasises the very variable nature of the wood noting some clearings and other areas very difficult to traverse.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Mrs Kelly's store of co-proxamol tablets

When the Attorney General made his woeful statement to the House of Commons three weeks ago he also published a huge bundle of documents which his office has assembled in support of his position.  Perusing it all is taking some time and one has to be prepared for blood pressure to rise in respect of many of the assertions made and conclusions drawn.  I've made references in previous posts to some of the appalling contributions from Dr Shepherd and from Thames Valley Police.

One good plus is that we are at last seeing some important new information coming in to the public domain.  A question that has intrigued me for some time is 'how much co-proxamol did Mrs Kelly have in the house when Dr Kelly left the home for the last time'.  Now we have an answer. 

Within the Attorney General documents is a file titled 'Schedule of responses to issues raised'   It's a PDF file of 60 pages and 169 entries so plenty to read!   This is issue number 18:

It was assumed that, as Mrs Kelly had been prescribed co- proxamol, the empty blister
packs of these tablets found in Dr Kelly’s jacket pocket must have belonged to her. However,
this was never established adequately at the Inquiry. It was not established whether Mrs Kelly
would normally have had such a number of tablets, whether she had recently obtained a
repeat prescription, or when and from where the tablets had been dispensed.

And this is the response:

There were no assumptions made. The police investigated the matter as far as it was possible to do so.

Thames Valley Police report:

“Following the discovery of Dr Kelly’s body a search was made of his house. Mrs Janice Kelly was present and was asked to show officers any medicines in the house. Mrs Kelly showed the officers a drawer in her bedroom where there were 4 x 10 packs of co-proxamol in foil blister packs. These were not contained within a box. She also directed the officers to a kitchen drawer where a full box of 10 x 10 packs of co-proxamol were kept.

The full pack was issued to Mrs Kelly on the 20th May 2003 by the White Horse Medical Practice in Faringdon.

Mrs Kelly stated that her husband would never take any sort of tablet, not even for a headache but that he was aware that she was prescribed co-proxamol as a painkiller. He also knew that she kept her supplies of these tablets in her bedside cabinet and in a kitchen drawer.

The markings on the packets recovered from Dr Kelly’s body and those prescribed to his wife were compared and found to be identical.

The manufacturers of the tablets were approached to ascertain if it was possible to trace the history of the recovered packets. The Technical Manager told officers that each batch release would contain approximately 1.6 million packets which were distributed to numerous companies and could end up in chemists anywhere in Britain.”

Some figures then but it still fails to answer the question as to whether the (almost) empty foil packs found in the pocket of Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket originated from his wife's supply.

At the Hutton Inquiry Mr Dingemans employs some odd questioning regarding the co-proxamol when Mrs Kelly gives her testimony.  This is the relevant exchange:

Q. We have also heard that some co-proxamol was used.
A. Indeed.
Q. Do you take any medicine?
A. I do. I take co-proxamol for my arthritis.
Q. I think we are also going to hear that appears to be the source of the co-proxamol that was used.

A. I had assumed that. I keep a small store in a kitchen drawer and the rest in my bedside

I would readily accept that talking to that particular witness about the particular aspect is not a comfortable thing to do.  At a properly conducted inquest I would think that  the questioning would be very explicit rather than, as here, counsel virtually stating that Mrs Kelly's supply was the source of the co-proxamol allegedly swallowed by Dr Kelly.

Mr Dingemans' use of the words 'I think we are also going to hear that appears to be the source ...' is misleading and totally out of order in my view.  I certainly don't think any later witnesses that particular day made any statement about the source of the co-proxamol.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Putting faces to some of the names at the Hutton Inquiry

I've found this link to The Guardian really useful  As well as summarising some of the evidence these key players gave at the Hutton Inquiry there are "mug shots" accompanying some of them - I wonder if anyone has had preconceptions of what those they haven't seen before look like.

Personally I've never imagined anything about the appearance of Hutton witnesses.

For anyone wondering about the sort of person Dr Shepherd is I'm glad to say that Felix has been busy!  My last post was titled "Dr Kelly's injury to his right elbow".  The comment from Felix timed at 19.06 has a link to a short video featuring Dr Shepherd.

Dr Kelly's injury to his right elbow

If Dr Kelly did indeed commit suicide by severing the ulnar artery in his left wrist it would, it seems to me,  need a well functioning right arm to perform the necessary action.  Lets just remind ourselves that the ulnar artery is buried in the little finger side of the underside of the wrist.  The radial artery, on the thumb side, is much closer to the surface and it is the radial artery with which people will be familiar as the one commonly felt to check ones pulse.

To get to the ulnar artery requires cutting through tendons and nerves; in the case of Dr Kelly the forensic pathologist Dr Hunt says in his report 'The wound was up to approximately 1 - 1.5 cms deep'.  An open bloodstained knife was found at the scene.  Mrs Kelly says at the Inquiry:

A. We were not shown the knife; we were shown a photocopy of I presume the knife which we recognised as a knife he had had for many years and kept in his drawer.
Q. It was a knife he had had what, from childhood?
A. From childhood I believe. I think probably from the Boy Scouts.

This would make the knife 40 to 50 years old in my estimation.  It would seem that the knife wasn't particularly sharp, certainly no laboratory tests seem to have been done to ascertain if the knife  was sufficiently sharp at that time.  To make the incisions described by Dr Hunt would have needed Dr Kelly to grasp the knife tightly which makes it even more unbelievable that fingerprints weren't present.

A marked lack of functionality in the right arm would make the suicide hypothesis untenable in my opinion.

In late 1991 Dr Kelly suffered a fractured right elbow as a result of an accident.  He underwent surgery followed in the early part of 1992 by a number of physiotherapy sessions.  That much is agreed.  In 2(b) of his report  Dr Shepherd looks at the question of the strength of the right arm.  Shepherd makes the assumption that everything is more or less back to normal on the basis it seems that there is no further reference to the injury in the later medical notes pertaining to Dr Kelly nor were there repeat referrals to orthopaedic surgeons.  It seems to me that this forensic pathologist is trying to pose as an expert on bone fracture and subsequent healing.

To get a better insight and understanding of this whole subject I recommend going to the Andrew Watts blog and reading this post

The question of whether Dr Kelly had the right arm strength to cut through the tendons and ulnar artery of his left wrist has been brought sharply into focus by statements given by his friend and confidante Mai Pederson.  At this juncture I suggest reading this report by Sharon Churcher from 2008:

I'm assuming with the volume of detail in the article that the report is fairly reflecting the comments of Ms Pederson.  So perhaps she was lying?  In trying to see whether an individual is lying I ask myself (a) what is the benefit to the "liar" in telling a lie and (b) what are the downsides to telling the lie.

So far as (a) is concerned I really can't see any gain for Ms Pederson by lying about such a matter.  But it is (b) - looking at the downside which is particularly significant I think.  Let us suppose that Dr Kelly's injury had completely healed.  Mrs Kelly could have gone to her solicitor and made a sworn statement to that effect.  To date she hasn't.  Such a statement would have sunk Ms Pederson's credibility.

At the post mortem examination Dr Hunt reports the presence of 'An old, curving scar around the outer aspect of the right elbow'  He doesn't investigate further which makes him negligent in my opinion.  He should have got the police to interview both the family and the GP Dr Warner to get the background as to the presence of this scar.  Failure to investigate further is shocking even though he must have been under pressure to come to a quick conclusion.

I would point out finally that Shepherd disgracefully derides the observation of Dr Shuttleworth in his letter of 30 April 2010.

Examples of the sloppiness of Dr Shepherd

It seems to me that when Dr Shepherd was asked by the Attorney General's office to comment on the pathological aspects of Dr David Kelly's death he should have been acutely aware of just how sensitive an issue it was and that there was every likelihood that his report would be placed in the public domain.  He must surely have known that his report would be very carefully scrutinized for accuracy and hence there would be an imperative to make sure there were no basic errors in the report he produced.

In an earlier post  I had drawn attention to the fact that Shepherd had failed to obtain Dr Hunt's interim report of 19 July 2003 or asked for the photographs taken by PC Sawyer even though he should have been aware of their existence if he was on top of his job.  I maintained in that piece that he was grossly negligent in exhibiting these failings.  Shepherd says 'I have been provided with the documents and other items listed in Appendix A'.  I'm not clear as to the exact process that took place.  Did he read the relevant parts of the Hutton Inquiry and Report and then make a "shopping list" of the documents he needed or was he just presented with the items we see listed in Appendix A and thought that was sufficient?

It wasn't just the absolute failings referred to above though.  His report is strewn with instances demonstrating a general air of sloppiness, as if he wasn't really that bothered to get things right.

The list that follows may not be exhaustive but it certainly gives great cause for concern.

Under the heading 'Brief Background' we see this sentence: On the afternoon of 17th July 2003 he left his home address to go for a walk and, apart from a possible sighting by a neighbour approximately half an hour later, he was not seen alive again'.  Even though the testimonies at the Inquiry weren't under oath it's been assumed that all the witnesses were honest in giving their evidence (even though some certainly weren't honest!).  Why then does Shepherd use the word 'possible' in relation to Ruth Absalom's testimony?

In the following paragraph Shepherd states that the body was found in 'the early hours of the following morning, 18th July 2007 ...'   He has the year wrong, it should be 2003.  Also 'the early hours' is unnecessarily vague.  He has a copy of Paul Chapman's statement which makes it quite obvious that the body was discovered at 09.15.  This was a clearly significant time so why not quote it in his report?

'Following consideration of the histology and receipt of report from the toxicologist, Dr Allan, dated 21st July 2003, (TVP/1/0033 et seq) Dr Hunt formed his conclusions as to the cause of death and issued his own report on 25th July 2003. (TVP/1/0059 et seq).'   This is totally misleading as Dr Hunt had formed some conclusions as to cause of death in his interim report of 19th July to which Lord Hutton clearly refers in his opening statement of 1 August 2003.

Under 1(c) Shepherd states: 'The police officers (DCs Coe and Shields) who initially attended the scene commented that the body was 'laying on his back', they did not describe sitting or slumping against a tree'.  Shields is only mentioned once by Coe at the inquiry and not in the context of being at the scene of the body.  He isn't mentioned in Coe's witness statement.  Shepherd isn't provided with a witness statement by Shields.  A small point but Coe uses the words (according to Annex TVP1) 'lying on his back' rather than 'laying on his back'.

Under '2. Post Mortem Examination' we read 'The examination commenced at 21.20 hours on 18th March 2007 and ended just after midnight on 19th March 2007'.  So month and year both incorrect.  Why not quote the exact ending time of 00.15 that Dr Hunt states?

'I note that in October 1983, 24 years before his death, David Kelly complained of angina ...'   Again Shepherd displays his fixation with the year 2007 it seems.  2003 is 20 years after 1983.

3 (c) Use of Henssge's Nomogram to determine the time of death
First paragraph '18th March 2007' twice, '17th March 2007' once.

5(a) Use of imperial measurements
'Dr Hunt quite correctly uses metric measurements within his report'
For goodness sake what's wrong with Dr Shepherd?  No, Dr Hunt uses a mix of imperial and metric measurements in his report!  Dr Hunt uses metric units for the pool of blood below the knife.  In the very next paragraph he switches to imperial 'about 1' from his left elbow was an open bottle of 'Evian' water'.  In the next paragraph there is reference to the 2'-3' bloodstaining and pool of blood.  It just couldn't be clearer Dr Shepherd.

If you can bear to read it Dr Shepherd's statement can be accessed here:

Monday, 27 June 2011

Dr Shepherd's visit to Harrowdown Hill

This post is more of an observation than a criticism but I'm adding it on the basis that I want to publish as many facts as I can even if some are deemed of purely passing interest.

Not unreasonably perhaps Dr Shepherd makes a visit to Harrowdown Hill fairly soon after getting his confirmatory letter from Kevin McGinty.  The timing is unfortunate in that he finds himself going there in the winter: whereas Dr Kelly's body is discovered on 18 July 2003 Dr Shepherd's viewing of the scene is on Wednesday 8 December 2010.

In his report Dr Shepherd indicates that he is accompanied by Police Officers and members of the Attorney General's office.  UK readers will recall that most of December 2010 was viciously cold.  I've been able to get a clue to the weather in that particular area from this link on the internet  The 09.38 post on this forum indicates snow falling at North Hinksey - this is about 7 miles north east of Harrowdown Hill.  I'm not saying that Dr Shepherd's party were caught in a blizzard but the day it would seem was pretty bleak.

Yes Dr Shepherd would have got some sense of the local topography at least.  The wood though appears to consist entirely of deciduous trees or if there are evergreens then they are very few.  In a very cold December the undergrowth would surely be minimal.  I do wonder if the visit would have yielded much useful information as to the situation in July 2003.

This is an extract from a Daily Telegraph report of 29 January 2004:
Yesterday Harrowdown Hill was a different place. The path along which Dr Kelly took his final walk on July 17 last year was slithery underfoot with deep, sticky mud. The woods that crown the hill, dense and green when Dr Kelly's body was found by two searchers the morning after his disappearance, were a stark tangle of trunks and bare branches.

On 8 December last year I can imagine that Dr Shepherd and those with him would have been grateful to have got the site visit completed. 

Poor judgement shown by Kevin McGinty

Kevin McGinty in the Attorney General's Office has, it would seem, a high position there judging by the numerous entries on the internet that include his name.  In relation to Dr Kelly's death he has been the point of contact for those writing to Mr Grieve.  He has also been the individual who has been responsible for getting those such as Dr Shepherd to take instructions to review evidence and to provide reports.

He wrote to Dr Shepherd on 12 November 2010 to thank the latter 'for agreeing to take instructions in this case'  Unfortunately he displayed a serious lack of judgement as can be seen from the following two paragraphs:

Whilst I have already asked whether you would be prepared to work with Dr Hunt, counsel has since advised that in order to ensure not only the undoubted fact of your review being independent, we should also be concerned to ensure the appearance of independence.

Counsel has advised that it would be desirable if you did not have any direct contact with Dr Hunt but seek any information or materials you require through Treasury Solicitors Department.  Whilst the appearance of independence is clearly important, I simply don't know how this proposal will impact on your ability to carry out this work.  I will speak to you about this on Monday.

I have to say that I am disappointed that Mr McGinty got this wrong.  Dr Shepherd's function was to review the work and report of Dr Hunt not engage in conversation with him.

Hopefully the letter was sent out sufficiently quickly that no contact had been made between Dr Shepherd and Dr Hunt in the interim.

Documents not seen by Dr Shepherd

Forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd was commissioned by the Attorney General to write a Forensic Medical Report regarding the death of Dr David Kelly.  This Shepherd duly did, his report being completed on 16 March 2011.  Written confirmation of his commission to prepare a report had been made on 12 November 2010.

As Dr Shepherd was expected to make a critical assessment of the work of Dr Hunt it was obviously essential that he be provided with the full range of documents that could have a bearing on the report he would present to the Attorney General.  Appendix A to the report  makes for fascinating reading regarding items not sent for Dr Shepherd to peruse.

Heading the list is the PM report of Dr Hunt dated 25 July 2003.  This is the one that found its way on line on 22 October last year.  A much cleaner looking version of it with the ridiculous redactions removed is now available to read here 

I had identified the fact a long time ago that there was an earlier version of Dr Hunt's report.  Lord Hutton, in his opening statement of 1 August 2003, stated on page 14 that he had been sent a post-mortem report dated 19 July by the coroner.  Whilst it would seem that additional toxicology information became available between 19 and 25 July and the final post-mortem report was therefore updated rumours abound that other parts of Dr Hunt's report were revised.  So why didn't Dr Shepherd demand that the earlier document be sent to him?  There may not be differences of significant concern but Dr Shepherd was clearly grossly negligent in not obtaining the earlier report.

Further down the list in "Appendix A" we see:
8.     Scene photographs (DTM/1)
9.     Postmortem photographs (DTM/2)

We know from the evidence of the forensic biologist Mr Green that the police photographer at the afternoon examination is Mr McGee.  It seems a reasonable assumption that Mr McGee would follow through with taking the photographs at the evening post-mortem back at Oxford.  I would suggest that the initials appended to the two folders of photographs sent to Dr Shepherd are those of Mr McGee; as yet I've not found any other internet presence for Mr McGee to confirm the initials.  He doesn't seem to be named as an attendee in Dr Hunt's report although as explained I would be confident it was him at the mortuary as well.

In section 1(c) of his report Dr Shepherd looks into the matter of whether the body had been moved between discovery and the pathologist's examination.  There are plenty of references in the Hutton Inquiry to the fact that PC Sawyer took photographs of the body.  Why didn't Thames Valley Police send these through with the other photos?  Moreover why didn't Dr Shepherd demand sight of them?

Again I submit that Dr Shepherd was grossly negligent.

One further point worth noting is that out of the early observers of the body there were two absentees so far as witness statements lodged with Dr Shepherd were concerned.  Whereas the statements of the two volunteer searchers, DC Coe and the two ambulance crew went forward those of PC Franklin and (photographer) PC Sawyer did not!

Referring now to Annex TVP3 submitted by Thames Valley Police  and it's seen in the comparison of police witness statements and Hutton testimonies that PCs Franklin and Sawyer don't mention the body position in their witness statements, the others do.

On the question of moving the body DC Coe has taken all the flak.  I think that the net should be cast wider.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Catherine McKinnell responds to my letter

Last Monday I wrote to Catherine McKinnell MP the shadow Solicitor-General.  Her "boss", the shadow Attorney General Baroness Scotland, of course sits in the House of Lords and so it was Ms McKinnell's job to respond for the Opposition to the statement made by Dominic Grieve to MPs on the 9th June.

Ms McKinnell was hugely supportive of Grieve's statement which we can see was designed to deceive the House.  In my letter I pointed out why Grieve's assertions about the (non) movement of Dr Kelly's body were wrong.  In her response she hasn't addressed any of my points.  The arrogant attitude is one of "The AG has thoroughly looked at this, he's an honest guy and I believe him"

Here is her email to me:

Dear Mr Spencer,
Thank you for your e-mail of 20th June regarding the Attorney General’s decision not to make an application to the High Court for an inquest to be held into the death of Dr David Kelly.
As I outlined in my response to the Attorney General’s statement, both I and the Shadow Attorney General had sight of documentation, which was filed in the House of Commons library and made available online, relating to his inquiries. The Attorney General also made clear that he had seen many photographs of the scene, the body, Dr Kelly’s home, and the post mortem. These photos have not been made available to the general public as it would be inappropriate for them to be released without the consent of Dr Kelly’s family, however they have obviously been viewed and relied upon in the Attorney General arriving at his conclusions. 
We consequently consider that the Attorney General addressed himself fully, comprehensively and transparently to the issues involved, over the lengthy period of time that his consideration of this matter took place. There is nothing to indicate that the Attorney General has not discharged his duty competently, honestly or rigorously in this matter.  
Yours sincerely
Catherine McKinnell
Catherine McKinnell MP
Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne North

Tel: 0191 286 1266 (Constituency)

This is the text of my letter to her of 20 June for easy reference:

Dear Ms McKinnell

The purpose of this letter is to raise a matter of grave concern regarding a statement by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve to the House of Commons on 9 June 2011.  You will recall that it was about the death of Dr David Kelly and whether there should be an inquest into his death.

On behalf of the Opposition you responded to this statement and appeared supportive.  Quite understandably, and thinking of the position held by Mr Grieve, you would have taken the broad sweep of his statement "on trust".  Again, bearing in mind the very substantial amount of documentation that Mr Grieve placed in the Libraries of both Houses, it would be unreasonable to expect you to have been familiar with all the detail when responding on the 9th June.

Mr Grieve in his verbal statement chose to highlight one particular issue that has caused a lot of controversy and that is whether on the 18th July 2003 Dr Kelly's body had been moved between its discovery and its examination by the forensic pathologist.  One of the many concerns of those seeking an inquest is that the body was moved, however the Attorney General has apparently decided that the body's position hadn't changed.  Obviously if there is evidence that the body had been moved in contradiction to the point made by Mr Grieve then his position as Attorney General is totally undermined.

Let us look at the relevant evidence:

1. Two volunteer searchers, Ms Holmes and Mr Chapman with Ms Holmes's search dog Brock, were sent out to the area of Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire to look for Dr Kelly.  They found his body at 9.15 am in the wood that covers the top of Harrowdown Hill.

2. In her police witness statement (part of which is now included in Annex TVP1 in the bundle of documents sent to Mr Grieve) we see that Ms Holmes gets as close as 4 feet from the body.  She says 'I saw that this person was slumped against the base of the tree with his head and shoulders resting on the trunk, his legs were stretched out straight in front of him.'   At the Hutton Inquiry her testimony reaffirmed her statement to the police: 'He was at the base of the tree with almost his head and his shoulders just slumped back against the tree' 

3. The other searcher (Mr Chapman) is the person referred to by Mr Grieve as having changed his evidence as to the body position.  Unlike Ms Holmes he evidently didn't go forward to the body, in fact on page 27 of the relevant section of the Hutton website he says  'I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it'  (that's about 50 to 65 feet away compared to the 4 feet of Ms Holmes)

4. The first police officer to approach the body was Detective Constable Coe.  This was at 9.40.  In an extremely short witness statement DC Coe states 'I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back'   However in an article in "The Mail on Sunday" dated 8 August 2010 DC Coe is quoted as follows:
'As I got closer, I could see Dr Kelly's body sideways on, with his head and shoulders against a large tree.  He wasn't dead flat along the ground.  If you wanted to die, you'd never lie flat out.  But neither was he sat upright'  This obviously confirms the testimony of Ms Holmes.

5. In chapter 5 page 151 of his report Lord Hutton says: 'I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly's body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree'  Again this confirms what Ms Holmes says.

6. About 45 minutes after the body has been found an ambulance crew are checking the body for signs of life.  In a newspaper interview one of the crew, Mr Bartlett, said:
‘He was lying flat out some distance from the tree. He definitely wasn’t leaning against it. I remember saying to the copper, “Are you sure he hasn’t fallen out of the tree?”
‘When I was there the body was far enough away from the tree for someone to get behind it. I know that because I stood there when we were using the electrodes to check his heart. Later I learned that the dog team said they had found him propped up against the tree. He wasn’t when we got there. If the earlier witnesses are saying that, then the body has obviously been moved.’
7. The Attorney General called in a forensic pathologist Dr Shepherd to produce a Forensic Medical Report.  One of the issues examined by Dr Shepherd was the position of the body.  In his report Dr Shepherd has this to say:
The paramedics who attended (Mr Bartlett and Miss Hunt), who examined the body and who certified life extinct, indicate there was a significant gap between the tree and the body in which they were able to stand to examine the body and apply ECG tabs.
It is quite clear from consideration of the photographs of the scene that, at the time they were taken, the body of David Kelly lay with his feet pointing away from the tree and that there was a significant gap between the base of the tree and the top of the head.
Significantly from the above points there is clear disparity between the photographic evidence reports of Lord Hutton and Dr Shepherd.
I believe that the only conclusion one can draw from the evidence itemised above is that either Mr Grieve was grossly incompetent or that he was dishonest in making his statement of the 9th June.
Although I have written to my own MP you are the only other MP I have written to at the present time because of your role in responding to Mr Grieve.  As time permits I may well write to other MPs.  A copy of this letter will appear on my blog  Blind copies of this letter are being sent to people who I consider have a particular interest in the subject matter.
I ask you now to raise questions about the behaviour of the present Attorney General Dominic Grieve and about his competence and integrity.
I await your response.
Yours sincerely
Brian Spencer
I suspect that she referred my letter up to Baroness Scotland and the latter may have effectively provided the words.  However it is signed by Ms McKinnell and hence she has to take responsibility for it. 

If it wasn't so serious one would have to laugh or weep at the utter crassness of her reply to me.