Saturday, 25 June 2011

Catherine McKinnell responds to my letter

Last Monday I wrote to Catherine McKinnell MP the shadow Solicitor-General.  Her "boss", the shadow Attorney General Baroness Scotland, of course sits in the House of Lords and so it was Ms McKinnell's job to respond for the Opposition to the statement made by Dominic Grieve to MPs on the 9th June.

Ms McKinnell was hugely supportive of Grieve's statement which we can see was designed to deceive the House.  In my letter I pointed out why Grieve's assertions about the (non) movement of Dr Kelly's body were wrong.  In her response she hasn't addressed any of my points.  The arrogant attitude is one of "The AG has thoroughly looked at this, he's an honest guy and I believe him"

Here is her email to me:

Dear Mr Spencer,
Thank you for your e-mail of 20th June regarding the Attorney General’s decision not to make an application to the High Court for an inquest to be held into the death of Dr David Kelly.
As I outlined in my response to the Attorney General’s statement, both I and the Shadow Attorney General had sight of documentation, which was filed in the House of Commons library and made available online, relating to his inquiries. The Attorney General also made clear that he had seen many photographs of the scene, the body, Dr Kelly’s home, and the post mortem. These photos have not been made available to the general public as it would be inappropriate for them to be released without the consent of Dr Kelly’s family, however they have obviously been viewed and relied upon in the Attorney General arriving at his conclusions. 
We consequently consider that the Attorney General addressed himself fully, comprehensively and transparently to the issues involved, over the lengthy period of time that his consideration of this matter took place. There is nothing to indicate that the Attorney General has not discharged his duty competently, honestly or rigorously in this matter.  
Yours sincerely
Catherine McKinnell
Catherine McKinnell MP
Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne North

Tel: 0191 286 1266 (Constituency)

This is the text of my letter to her of 20 June for easy reference:

Dear Ms McKinnell

The purpose of this letter is to raise a matter of grave concern regarding a statement by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve to the House of Commons on 9 June 2011.  You will recall that it was about the death of Dr David Kelly and whether there should be an inquest into his death.

On behalf of the Opposition you responded to this statement and appeared supportive.  Quite understandably, and thinking of the position held by Mr Grieve, you would have taken the broad sweep of his statement "on trust".  Again, bearing in mind the very substantial amount of documentation that Mr Grieve placed in the Libraries of both Houses, it would be unreasonable to expect you to have been familiar with all the detail when responding on the 9th June.

Mr Grieve in his verbal statement chose to highlight one particular issue that has caused a lot of controversy and that is whether on the 18th July 2003 Dr Kelly's body had been moved between its discovery and its examination by the forensic pathologist.  One of the many concerns of those seeking an inquest is that the body was moved, however the Attorney General has apparently decided that the body's position hadn't changed.  Obviously if there is evidence that the body had been moved in contradiction to the point made by Mr Grieve then his position as Attorney General is totally undermined.

Let us look at the relevant evidence:

1. Two volunteer searchers, Ms Holmes and Mr Chapman with Ms Holmes's search dog Brock, were sent out to the area of Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire to look for Dr Kelly.  They found his body at 9.15 am in the wood that covers the top of Harrowdown Hill.

2. In her police witness statement (part of which is now included in Annex TVP1 in the bundle of documents sent to Mr Grieve) we see that Ms Holmes gets as close as 4 feet from the body.  She says 'I saw that this person was slumped against the base of the tree with his head and shoulders resting on the trunk, his legs were stretched out straight in front of him.'   At the Hutton Inquiry her testimony reaffirmed her statement to the police: 'He was at the base of the tree with almost his head and his shoulders just slumped back against the tree' 

3. The other searcher (Mr Chapman) is the person referred to by Mr Grieve as having changed his evidence as to the body position.  Unlike Ms Holmes he evidently didn't go forward to the body, in fact on page 27 of the relevant section of the Hutton website he says  'I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it'  (that's about 50 to 65 feet away compared to the 4 feet of Ms Holmes)

4. The first police officer to approach the body was Detective Constable Coe.  This was at 9.40.  In an extremely short witness statement DC Coe states 'I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back'   However in an article in "The Mail on Sunday" dated 8 August 2010 DC Coe is quoted as follows:
'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'  This obviously confirms the testimony of Ms Holmes.

5. In chapter 5 page 151 of his report Lord Hutton says: 'I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly's body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree'  Again this confirms what Ms Holmes says.

6. About 45 minutes after the body has been found an ambulance crew are checking the body for signs of life.  In a newspaper interview one of the crew, Mr Bartlett, said:
‘He was lying flat out some distance from the tree. He definitely wasn’t leaning against it. I remember saying to the copper, “Are you sure he hasn’t fallen out of the tree?”
‘When I was there the body was far enough away from the tree for someone to get behind it. I know that because I stood there when we were using the electrodes to check his heart. Later I learned that the dog team said they had found him propped up against the tree. He wasn’t when we got there. If the earlier witnesses are saying that, then the body has obviously been moved.’
7. The Attorney General called in a forensic pathologist Dr Shepherd to produce a Forensic Medical Report.  One of the issues examined by Dr Shepherd was the position of the body.  In his report Dr Shepherd has this to say:
The paramedics who attended (Mr Bartlett and Miss Hunt), who examined the body and who certified life extinct, indicate there was a significant gap between the tree and the body in which they were able to stand to examine the body and apply ECG tabs.
It is quite clear from consideration of the photographs of the scene that, at the time they were taken, the body of David Kelly lay with his feet pointing away from the tree and that there was a significant gap between the base of the tree and the top of the head.
Significantly from the above points there is clear disparity between the photographic evidence reports of Lord Hutton and Dr Shepherd.
I believe that the only conclusion one can draw from the evidence itemised above is that either Mr Grieve was grossly incompetent or that he was dishonest in making his statement of the 9th June.
Although I have written to my own MP you are the only other MP I have written to at the present time because of your role in responding to Mr Grieve.  As time permits I may well write to other MPs.  A copy of this letter will appear on my blog  Blind copies of this letter are being sent to people who I consider have a particular interest in the subject matter.
I ask you now to raise questions about the behaviour of the present Attorney General Dominic Grieve and about his competence and integrity.
I await your response.
Yours sincerely
Brian Spencer
I suspect that she referred my letter up to Baroness Scotland and the latter may have effectively provided the words.  However it is signed by Ms McKinnell and hence she has to take responsibility for it. 

If it wasn't so serious one would have to laugh or weep at the utter crassness of her reply to me. 


  1. Unfortunately the corruption runs so deep that the Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are all now supporting the lie first issued by Thames valley police.

    Lord Hutton took the lie and mocked the Justice system with it.

    Dominic Grieve inherited the lie and then buried the Justice system with it.

    Grieve as Attorney General has turned his back on Democracy, Justice and the Truth.

    Our country is run by liars supported by a parliament who don’t care what lies are told in the House of Commons as long as they can claim their dodgy expenses and help the bankers get the rest of any cash that remains.

  2. 2+2=5. The Attorney General has said so, he has seen the proof, and the Shadow Attorney General and the Shadow Solictor General,although they have not been shown it, see no reason to arrive at any other conclusion, e.g. 4.

    "We're elected policitians, you must trust us"

  3. ....except nobody elected Patricia Scotland. Or Peter Goldsmith for that matter...