It appears to be accepted as a fact that once searcher Paul Chapman had shown DC Coe the body then the detective stood guard at the scene for 25 to 30 minutes. Certainly the chronology fits pretty well if Mr Chapman leads DC Coe to the body at say 9.30 and PCs Franklin and Sawyer get to the top of the track at about 10 o'clock. This is an exchange between Mr Knox and DC Coe at the Inquiry:
Q. How far away from the body did you actually go?
A. 7 or 8 feet.
Q. How long did you spend at the scene?
A. Until other officers came to tape off the area. I would think somewhere in the region of about 25 or 30 minutes.
Q. Did anyone then arrive after that time?
A. Yes, two other police officers arrived, I took them to where the body was laying and then they made a taped off area, what we call a common approach path for everybody to attend along this one path.
Here we have another classic example of the muddled evidence presented at the Inquiry. I guess it is just loose language but it might be assumed that one lot of officers taped off the area and then after that a new pair of officers (evidently Franklin and Sawyer) arrive on the scene. I'm assuming in reality we are just talking about PCs Franklin and Sawyer. Whether Mr Dingemans and Mr Knox set out to avoid crystal clear clarity is an interesting question!
From the wording in the last answer we see that DC Coe took his police colleagues to the body. In other words at that moment in time when he meets the two police constables he is not with the body! When one looks at the testimonies of PCs Franklin and Sawyer together with that of the ambulance crew it becomes apparent that he is down on the track and then leads them to the body.
Dr Kelly's body is well into the wood, by DC Coe's estimation about 75 yards, PC Franklin reckoned 50 to 75 metres, somewhere approaching three quarters of the length of a football pitch then. If DC Coe is down on the track when the PCs and the ambulance crew come into view my thought is 'how long had he been down on the track, after Mr Chapman showed him the body did he decide it was better to join his companions down on the track sooner rather than later'. My logic suggests that DC Shields should have accompanied DC Coe and Paul Chapman to note the body location, then whilst DC Coe remains with the corpse DC Shields returns to the track so that when the cavalry turn up he can take them to the correct spot.
Now I'm not suggesting that as soon as DC Coe left the body to head for the track that men from the security services materialised from the undergrowth and for instance moved Dr Kelly's body but nevertheless the possibility that the body was left unguarded does cause concern. In my next post I will examine the fact that DC Coe noted very little about Dr Kelly, strange for someone who was with the body for up to half an hour apparently.