So far as I can see there are just two mentions of the time of 10.07 at the Hutton Inquiry, one from PC Franklin and the other from DC Coe. We know that the ambulance crew took three readouts from the heart monitor machine and that the strips were handed over to the police. In their evidence we hear from the paramedics that the times printed on the readouts have to often be corrected by the paramedics checking against their watches. Every call out requires the crew of the ambulance to complete a "Patient Record Form" but unfortunately in this instance the form has now gone missing - the story can be found in the Mail on Line for 12th September 2010 (sorry for not supplying a clickable link, I've been wasting a lot of time trying to add it and failing).
At the Inquiry we have the situation that the ambulance crew weren't able to recall the time they declared that death was extinct. Without something in writing in front of them it would have been extraordinary for them to exactly remember this, something that happened over six weeks before. There is nothing to suggest that the readouts from the monitor were deposited as evidence to the Inquiry or indeed that the Patient Report Form was lodged, extraordinary if this is the case. So it looks as if we have to rely on what two individual policemen say about the matter.
Exactly what did these two police officers say at the Inquiry? Here are the relevant extracts:
First, PC Franklin on 2nd September (Mr Dingemans asking the question)
Q. What did you see the paramedics do?
A. The shirt was unbuttoned, they placed four sticky pads, I believe it is four, on to the body, the chest, and attached it to a medical machine -- sorry, I have no idea what it is. And they pronounced life extinct at 10.07 hours that morning.
Two weeks later Mr Knox is examining DC Coe:
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.
Q. Did any ambulance people arrive?
A. They did, yes.
Q. Can you remember what time they arrived?
A. I can, if I use my pocket book. Can I?
Q. Of course.
A. I have 10.07 here.
Q. 10.07 being the time at which the ambulance arrived?
A. Pronounced death, but they might have arrived just prior to that.
Q. It is they who pronounced death; is that right?
Read DC Coe's remarks carefully and it seems initially he is thinking of 10.07 as the time the ambulance crew arrived and then realises that 10.07 is the time already in the public domain, thanks to PC Franklin, of the time death was confirmed. Notice too how DC Coe states that he took two police officers to where the body was laying. If we are to believe PCs Franklin and Sawyer they were all of the time just in front of the ambulance crew from the parking area at the bottom of the track right up to the point where the body was lying. Looking at DC Coe's evidence once more and we have to believe that DC Coe, PC Franklin and PC Sawyer approached the body together and that the two ambulance crew were just behind them.
So were there five people approaching the body through the wood? This is what PC Franklin said:
Q. Did you get taken into the wood?
A. DC Coe took us into the woods, PC Sawyer and myself, to the area where the body was.
Q. And what did you see there?
A. 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.
At this point Mr Dingemans asks PC Franklin about what Dr Kelly was wearing and what he saw in the vicinity of the body. Then we have this:
Q. And did you form any opinion about whether or not there was a sign of life?
A. We had two paramedics who were following closely behind us, but my initial thought was the body we had found was that of a dead man.
And a little later this:
Q. Having located the body, what did you do as a result of that?
A. The paramedics came to the scene to pronounce life extinct, which they did.
Q. Did you see them do that?
A. Yes, we did.
Immediately after PC Franklin completes his testimony we have Mr Knox examining PC Sawyer and his recollection has a different emphasis:
Q. You go along the track, where do you then go to?
A. We met Paul from SEBEV walking down the hill.
Q. Paul Chapman?
A. He told us basically the body was further up in the woods. We continued walking up the hill, where I saw DC Coe and two uniformed officers. I said, you know: whereabouts is the body? He pointed the path he had taken. I asked him if he had approached the body. He said he had. I asked him to point out where he had entered the woods and PC Franklin and myself entered the woods at the same point, taking with us a dozen or 15 aluminium poles we use when we are moving towards a scene to establish a common approach path.
Q. Were the paramedics with you at the time?
Q. The other three officers?
A. They remained down on the path.
Q. So it is you, PC Franklin and two paramedics, then the other three officers you have met; is that right?
Q. You go down further into the woods, is that right?
A. The three officers -- DC Coe and the two uniformed officers -- stayed on the path which leads through the woods. We branched off to the left about 50 or 70 metres up into the woods, where the body was.
Q. So it is just the four of you; is that right?
A. Just the four of us went up there.
PC Sawyer's evidence isn't making sense where he is suggesting that DC Coe is just pointing out the path to the way to the body which is 50 to 70 metres away. DC Coe would instinctively have led the way himself of course. There were two uniformed officers with DC Coe on the path from the two PCs evidence when they met him, never mind the outer cordon established at 9.28 back down the track, so its a nonsense to suggest DC Coe would have merely pointed in the general direction of the body.
Vanessa Hunt said 'we followed the two chaps up into the wooded area'.
Dave Bartlett wasn't quite so certain in this part of his evidence:
Q. What did you eventually come across?
A. We got to the end of the lane, there were some more police officers there. I think it was two or three, I cannot remember, I think it was two, took us up into the woods which was like right angles to the track.
Bearing in mind the very positive assertions by PC Sawyer I think that only four people were present at the body when life was declared extinct.
It is my belief that PCs Franklin and Sawyer approached the body twice, the first time in the company of DC Coe and then later to lead the way for the paramedics.