I have previously written about the scene tent that was erected at an unspecified time over Dr Kelly's body. See here: http://drkellysdeath-suicideormurder.blogspot.com/2011/01/dr-hunt-and-broken-branches.html and here http://drkellysdeath-suicideormurder.blogspot.com/2011/01/examples-of-scene-tents.html.
This post specifically addresses the question of why this tent was erected in the first place. A reminder for those less familiar with events at Harrowdown Hill on Friday 18th July 2003: Dr Kelly's body was discovered in the wood that covers the top of the Hill, the white tent visible in the media reports was supposedly there to give personnel protection from the weather if it decided to rain when they wanted to write up notes, etc. So, no, this tent didn't cover the body!
In Dr Hunt's testimony, Mr Knox asking the questions, we have this exchange:
Q. Did you then carry out a more thorough investigation of the body?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. At what time did that more thorough investigation begin?
A. I was logged back into the scene at about 10 minutes past 2 that afternoon, to begin the definitive scene examination.
Q. Was anything over the body by that stage?
A. Yes, a scene tent had been erected over the body. Although it was in very dense woodland there were obvious concerns to preserve the dignity of the deceased.
It's at this point that Lord Hutton seeks clarification about the white tent as I explained above.
In his report Dr Hunt records, without explanation, the presence of the scene tent over the body. Mr Knox, having the pathologist's report in front of him of course, decided to get that information into the public domain. The "obvious concerns to preserve the dignity of the deceased" really doesn't wash with me - if the body was in a location overlooked by houses say one might have reason to accept Dr Hunt's statement but at Harrowdown Hill with only police and forensic specialists seeing the body Dr Hunt's words don't resonate with me at all.
It seems to me that either Dr Hunt or DCI Young would have made the decision to have the scene tent erected, it certainly wouldn't have been down to anyone else thinking it was just a good idea surely. We have the ludicrous situation of the forensic biologist Mr Green not seeing the body in relation to its environment at any stage of the approximately five hours he is at Harrowdown Hill.
How big was the tent? Was it two made effectively into one with the adjoining flaps removed? Were the nettles with the spots of blood on them inside or outside the tent? Was the two to three foot long pool of blood and bloodstaining only seen by Dr Hunt inside or outside the tent or a bit of each?
This was a potential crime scene. Surely you would do everything possible to avoid disrupting the area. Surely you would want your forensic experts to be able to view the scene in its entirety and with the least possible contamination by other human activity like erecting a tent.
Of course we have to consider the possibility that Thames Valley Police were already aware of how Dr Kelly met his demise and that covering the scene with a tent assisted anybody who might have reason to alter the situation there with some degree of privacy.