Last Wednesday I wrote a post entitled 'Dr Hunt's Exhibit List'. This brought forward a variety of interesting comments and it was one from "Lancashire Lad" that made me realise that here was another detail that needed to be aired as a new post.
I had dealt with what I believed to be very understandable reasons for the cap in the game pocket of the Barbour jacket to be in the Exhibit List and the cap near the body not. In summary it became clear to me that any items recovered from the pockets of Dr Kelly's clothing rightly were the province of Dr Hunt but that articles physically detached from the body weren't, at least from the point of view of recording in an exhibits list.
An aspect of the scene at Harrowdown Hill on the 18th July that hasn't received the attention it merits is the fact that there was blood on the Barbour cap and it was LL's comment that got me seriously thinking about this. Going first to what Dr Hunt says in his published report this is the first paragraph under the section 'Adjacent scene':
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.
At the Inquiry Dr Hunt just adds the small detail that it was a flat cap:
Q Did you investigate the scene next to the body?
Q. And what did that show?
A. There was a Barbour flat-type cap with some blood on the lining and the peak near his left shoulder and upper arm. In the region of his left hand lying on the grass there was a black resin strapped wristwatch, a digital watch, which was also bloodstained.
The Barbour cap, water bottle and bottle top would seem to have been in close proximity to each other - a crowded area of the scene.
Just before Mr Knox obtains the testimony of Dr Hunt he takes evidence from DC Coe. DC Coe intriguingly appears to be in two minds as to whether the cap is on Dr Kelly's head or off the body:
Q. Could you be more particular as to what the clothes you saw were?
A. He was wearing a Barbour jacket. There was a cap, a pair of trousers and think walking boots, but I cannot be certain on that.
Q. Was the cap on the head or was the cap apart from the body?
A. That I cannot remember -- I have a feeling the cap was off, but I cannot be sure.
We know that while DC Coe was supposedly standing guard over the body, but in reality I'm sure some distance from it, the body was moved away from the tree. I suspect that there was more activity at this time than just moving the body to a flat position. Lancashire Lad has put forward the possibility that the Barbour cap was covering a small pool of blood that would have been in the "correct" position when Dr Kelly had his head and shoulders against the tree but once the body was moved forward a puddle near his head would have appeared very odd! So someone had the brainwave of removing Dr Kelly's cap from his head to cover the pool of blood. I think that this explanation has a lot going for it.
The fact that blood was seen on the knife, wrist watch, bottle and bottle top are all explainable to a degree. But the cap? How or why would blood find its way there?