Sunday, 9 January 2011

DC Coe - what he failed to notice

In my last post I had put forward the possibility that DC Coe didn't stay with Dr Kelly's body for anything like the 25 to 30 minutes that his evidence to Hutton suggests.  I don't have proof of how long he remained with the corpse but what I find intriguing is how little he evidently noticed about the body he was supposedly guarding and its immediate environs.

From his testimony at the inquiry we learn that DC Coe didn't know whether there was any water left in the Evian bottle and whether Dr Kelly's cap was on or off his head - although he thinks "off" which is correct.  He is somewhat vague about the clothing although he does notice the Barbour jacket in particular.

It was in early August last year that Graham Coe had an interview with the Daily Mail, this was the moment that he admitted that there was "The Third Man" accompanying him and DC Shields at Harrowdown Hill  (I tried to obtain the name and rank of this person via a FOI request but Thames Valley Police weren't prepared to release it - although they did admit that they knew who it was!).  Some of the interview is reported on the Mailonline  However the previous day evidently the story was presented in greater depth in the newspaper itself as can be seen by going to this particular website  In this forum you need to scroll to 8th August 2010 where someone calling themselves "leavemealone" has made a couple of entries.  The first of these is a newspaper report about the occasion when Dr Hunt allegedly mixed up the details of two dead servicemen (this needs its own blogpost at some time).  The second entry is the Daily Mail piece involving DC Coe (now retired).  Here is an extract:

‘I think he was wearing a green Barbour jacket and a bluish checked shirt, both of which I think were rolled up, and dark cords. I think he was wearing his glasses and I think his eyes were closed. I could see his left wrist had been cut.

That he thought that Dr Kelly was wearing his spectacles is extraordinary, particularly as he thinks his eyes were closed. The reference to dark cords is strange too because the jeans he was wearing would presumably be denim in the normal accepted definition of jeans.

Regarding the body position we have Mr Coe saying to the Mail in 2010:

‘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.’

Go back seven years to 2003 and this is what DC Coe is saying to the Hutton Inquiry:

Q. And how was the body positioned?
A. It was laying on its back -- the body was laying on its back by a large tree, the head towards the trunk of the tree.

I do have a problem reconciling these two statements.


  1. The position of the body is a big problem for Mr Coe and the authorities. It had clearly moved.

    Also Dr Hunt mentions something at the Hutton inquiry that does not appear in the published post mortem report.

    "14 MR KNOX: Were there any other injuries or bruises?
    15 A. Yes. Those were only revealed during the dissection
    16 part of the examination. There was a bruise below the
    17 left knee. There were two bruises below the right knee
    18 over the shin and there were two bruises over the left
    19 side of his chest. All of these were small and affected
    20 the skin but not the deeper tissues.
    21 Q. Would you be able to say how those bruises or injuries
    22 could have occurred?
    23 A. They would have occurred following a blunt impact
    24 against any firm object and it would not have to be
    25 a particularly heavy impact. They may be caused -- some
    1 of them may have been caused as Dr Kelly was stumbling,
    2 if you like, at the scene. They may have been caused
    3 well before he got to the woods. It is not possible to
    4 age them so precisely."

    Perhaps the injuries were caused when he was bundled into a vehicle.

    Also the published post mortem report refers to blood staining to the right elbow, right shoulder and right knee of the clothing.

    Here's a possible scenario;

    Dr Kelly is lifted off a country lane and is injected in his left wrist with an anaesthetic, whilst unconscious he has dissolved painkiller fed into him through a tube.

    The sedated Dr Kelly is taken to Harrowdown Hill under the cover of darkness and laid flat in a copse. He then has his wrist cut and is left to die. When satisfied that Dr Kelly is dead, his assailants leave.

    But Dr Kelly isn't dead, he recovers enough to role over from right to left and manages to prop himself up, staining his right knee and elbow in the process. He then manages to sit himself against a tree where he dies.

    But the blood pooling from his initial injuries are no longer consistent with his new position. Is that why he was moved back to where he was placed originally?

  2. Lancashire Lad - regarding the piece of Dr Hunt's testimony that you have quoted I have had another look at Dr Hunt's published report and I believe he has covered this in fact under "Other Organs" right at the end of the "Internal Examination" section.

    It's an interesting possible scenario you have painted. I have wondered some time about when Dr Kelly was killed because (assuming it was all his own fresh blood at the scene, and that is an assumption) the heart would have to be capable of pumping to some degree at least I would have thought. But perhaps not very effectively in view of the lack of "arterial rain".

  3. Re Lancashire Lad's extract
    Is that right - bruises affecting the skin but not affecting the deeper tissues only discovered by dissection? Might they not have been apparent at the Harrowdown in view of the amount of time spent there and the time elapsed, allegedly, since death?
    As Mr Hunt says, they might have been caused "well before he got to the woods"
    Such as resulting from a struggle or being bundled into/out of a van/helicopter...