Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Two uniformed officers with DC Coe

In the post before last I had written about the significant number of police officers and police vehicles seen by the ambulance crew when they arrived on site at 09.55. 
I also highlighted the fact that not only did PCs Franklin and Sawyer fail to comment on the presence of these police officers and vehicles but that they didn't mention being logged into the outer cordon which had been established nearly half an hour before.

In Annex TVP1 in the Attorney General's bundle of documents we read:

DC Coe went with Paul Chapman leaving DC Shields and PC A and Louise Holmes behind.  DC Shields and PC A did not go to the scene at all and did not see the body.

Given that both PC Franklin and PC Sawyer say they met Paul Chapman coming down the track as they were going up it then it seems evident to me that the two PCs should already have seen Louise Holmes, DC Shields and PC A.  The nearest we get is this from PC Sawyer:

We then went to the track that leads up to Harrowdown Hill, I do not know the name of the track,
but when we arrived we saw a vehicle parked which belonged to Louise.

This from Louise Holmes at the Inquiry:

Q. So in other words, Paul Chapman goes back with the police to show them where the body is?
A. Yes.
Q. What did you do?
A. I went back to the car to sort the dog out and then when I got to the car further police officers and personnel came up to the car to take over, take over the scene.

So the testimonies of Franklin and Sawyer are dishonest in my opinion in making no reference to the presence of Ms Holmes, DC Shields or PC A.

It gets much worse though.  PC's Franklin and Sawyer are very clear that when they see DC Coe then the latter is in the company of two uniformed officers.  This is what they said at the Inquiry.

PC Franklin
Q. After you get that information, where did you go?
A. PC Sawyer and I attended Harrowdown Hill and went to the scene. We were unsure initially whereabouts we were going, but we passed Paul from the South East Berks Volunteers and he directed us to two uniformed police officers and DC Coe.

PC Sawyer
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?
A. Yes.
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?
A. Yes.

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. Now, after you had taken the photographs and seen the body, did you carry out any further searches?
A. Yes. On the way back -- once we had finished with the body, once the paramedics had finished, we went back down the common approach path to the path where DC Coe and the two uniformed officers were. 

If we believe Thames Valley Police then the two original police officers accompanying DC Coe didn't see the body but stayed at the bottom of the track with Louise HolmesIn Annex TVP 1 she describes them as being in plain clothes anyway, at the Inquiry Paul Chapman is clear that they were from CID.

We have then the totally absurd scenario of PCs Franklin and Sawyer failing to mention the already placed outer cordon, the invisible presence of Louise Holmes, DC Shields and PC A,  the presence of lots of police and police vehicles seen by the ambulance crew when they arrive and now two further unnamed uniformed officers in the company of DC Coe.

All this and Thames Valley Police expect us to believe them!


  1. Paul Chapman's evidence to the inquiry indicates that he thought the three men he met were from the CID and he met them just 2 or 3 minutes after making his 9.20am phone call.

    This was overlooked at the Hutton inquiry, as was most other detail but it is extremely important to know how long the body was unattended after the search team left the scene.

    We now know, from new evidence revealed by the Attorney General that the body was moved after the search team found it. Was it moved before Coe first saw the body?

    Probably not because Hutton says he saw a photograph of the body in the same position as the search team describe when they saw it.

    "Q. Did the police attend?
    A. Yes, they did.
    Q. And did you help them when they had arrived?
    A. Yes. As we were going down the path we met three police officers coming the other way that were from CID. We identified ourselves to them. They were not actually aware that (a) the body had been found or we were out searching this area. They I think had just come out on their own initiative to look at the area. I informed them we had found the body and they asked me to take them back to indicate where it was.
    Q. So these were not the people you had arranged to meet, as it were?
    A. No, because this was only 2 or 3 minutes after I had made the phone call."

  2. DC Shields seems to leave no internet presence apart from this "chance occurrence" on Harrowdown Hill. Neither does he seem to have achieved promotion. One senses that the trio were part of a completely different operation from the one which became a critical incident at 3.44 am. The two PCs had no idea what the trio (DC Coe) was doing there.

    Excellent analysis,Brian. It is indeed a dog's breakfast.

  3. Was "Pc A" in uniform? One doubts it somehow.

  4. Felix, I'm confident that PC A wasn't in uniform. Louise Holmes tells us there were three men in plain clothes and Paul Chapman that they were from CID. If he was in uniform he would have stood out like a sore thumb!

    My guess is that DC Coe first identified himself and let the searchers see his ID. All he needed to do then was say "these are my two colleagues" and then they in turn quickly flash their ID cards.

    But for the question from junior counsel Mr Knox we wouldn't have been aware of the identity of DC Shields.

    As I mentioned in a previous post DC Coe's very brief statement about his activities on the 18th July makes no mention of who his colleagues were. Nor does he record seeing Ruth Absalom. In fact, so far as his evidence shows, there were no significant events for him until 9.40!

  5. Maybe it's a typo

    uniformed should read uninformed