It seems to me that when Dr Shepherd was asked by the Attorney General's office to comment on the pathological aspects of Dr David Kelly's death he should have been acutely aware of just how sensitive an issue it was and that there was every likelihood that his report would be placed in the public domain. He must surely have known that his report would be very carefully scrutinized for accuracy and hence there would be an imperative to make sure there were no basic errors in the report he produced.
In an earlier post http://drkellysdeath-suicideormurder.blogspot.com/2011/06/documents-not-seen-by-dr-shepherd.html I had drawn attention to the fact that Shepherd had failed to obtain Dr Hunt's interim report of 19 July 2003 or asked for the photographs taken by PC Sawyer even though he should have been aware of their existence if he was on top of his job. I maintained in that piece that he was grossly negligent in exhibiting these failings. Shepherd says 'I have been provided with the documents and other items listed in Appendix A'. I'm not clear as to the exact process that took place. Did he read the relevant parts of the Hutton Inquiry and Report and then make a "shopping list" of the documents he needed or was he just presented with the items we see listed in Appendix A and thought that was sufficient?
It wasn't just the absolute failings referred to above though. His report is strewn with instances demonstrating a general air of sloppiness, as if he wasn't really that bothered to get things right.
The list that follows may not be exhaustive but it certainly gives great cause for concern.
Under the heading 'Brief Background' we see this sentence: On the afternoon of 17th July 2003 he left his home address to go for a walk and, apart from a possible sighting by a neighbour approximately half an hour later, he was not seen alive again'. Even though the testimonies at the Inquiry weren't under oath it's been assumed that all the witnesses were honest in giving their evidence (even though some certainly weren't honest!). Why then does Shepherd use the word 'possible' in relation to Ruth Absalom's testimony?
In the following paragraph Shepherd states that the body was found in 'the early hours of the following morning, 18th July 2007 ...' He has the year wrong, it should be 2003. Also 'the early hours' is unnecessarily vague. He has a copy of Paul Chapman's statement which makes it quite obvious that the body was discovered at 09.15. This was a clearly significant time so why not quote it in his report?
'Following consideration of the histology and receipt of report from the toxicologist, Dr Allan, dated 21st July 2003, (TVP/1/0033 et seq) Dr Hunt formed his conclusions as to the cause of death and issued his own report on 25th July 2003. (TVP/1/0059 et seq).' This is totally misleading as Dr Hunt had formed some conclusions as to cause of death in his interim report of 19th July to which Lord Hutton clearly refers in his opening statement of 1 August 2003.
Under 1(c) Shepherd states: 'The police officers (DCs Coe and Shields) who initially attended the scene commented that the body was 'laying on his back', they did not describe sitting or slumping against a tree'. Shields is only mentioned once by Coe at the inquiry and not in the context of being at the scene of the body. He isn't mentioned in Coe's witness statement. Shepherd isn't provided with a witness statement by Shields. A small point but Coe uses the words (according to Annex TVP1) 'lying on his back' rather than 'laying on his back'.
Under '2. Post Mortem Examination' we read 'The examination commenced at 21.20 hours on 18th March 2007 and ended just after midnight on 19th March 2007'. So month and year both incorrect. Why not quote the exact ending time of 00.15 that Dr Hunt states?
'I note that in October 1983, 24 years before his death, David Kelly complained of angina ...' Again Shepherd displays his fixation with the year 2007 it seems. 2003 is 20 years after 1983.
3 (c) Use of Henssge's Nomogram to determine the time of death
First paragraph '18th March 2007' twice, '17th March 2007' once.
5(a) Use of imperial measurements
'Dr Hunt quite correctly uses metric measurements within his report'
For goodness sake what's wrong with Dr Shepherd? No, Dr Hunt uses a mix of imperial and metric measurements in his report! Dr Hunt uses metric units for the pool of blood below the knife. In the very next paragraph he switches to imperial 'about 1' from his left elbow was an open bottle of 'Evian' water'. In the next paragraph there is reference to the 2'-3' bloodstaining and pool of blood. It just couldn't be clearer Dr Shepherd.
If you can bear to read it Dr Shepherd's statement can be accessed here: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/Publications/Documents/Forensic%20medical%20report%20by%20Dr%20Shepherd%2016%20March%202011.pdf