Monday, 22 August 2011

Waiting for the Chief Constable to respond

On 16 June I wrote to Thames Valley Police regarding the change in evidence of DC Coe regarding Dr Kelly's body position.  I have yet to receive a considered reply although they treated a question in my letter as an FOI request and responded to that in isolation.  Of course if I wanted to make an FOI request I would have done that using the recognised procedure and I do not consider the procedure used by TVP as acceptable.

I have today written to TVP again in order to try and elicit a proper reply.  The text of the email is as follows:

Appended below is the email sent to you on 16 June 2011.  This is now over two months ago and I have yet to receive a reply to this letter.  I am concerned about this very long delay and ask whether you are now in a position to respond.
Brian Spencer
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 1:10 PM
Subject: Dr Kelly's death - conflicting evidence from DC Coe as to body position

Chief Constable, DCC Habgood, ACC Ball
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve made a statement to the House of Commons on 9th June 2011 concerning the death of Dr David Kelly. 
Despite evidence to the contrary Mr Grieve asserted that the body hadn't been moved. 
This communication looks at the evidence given by DC Coe, the first police officer to see the body, as to his description of the body position and that seemingly subsequent to his police witness statement he depicts it as being seen in a different position.
In Annex TVP1  submitted to the Attorney General's Office we have sight of DC Coe's police statement.  In it he says 'I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back'
At the Hutton Inquiry this is the question and answer in DC Coe's testimony that deals with the body position: 
8 Q. And how was the body positioned?
9 A. It was laying on its back -- the body was laying on its
10 back by a large tree, the head towards the trunk of the
11 tree.
On 8 August 2010 an interview of DC Coe (retired) appeared in The Mail on Sunday.  In annex TVP1 you focus on "The Third Man" who was with DC Coe, the admitted evidence of a third man having come into the public domain via this article.  Annex TVP1 states that 'DC Coe was interviewed on the 25th August 2010 in response to the Mail story'
Assuming a reasonable level of competence on the part of the interviewing officer(s) then they would have read the article in its entirety and discussed any aspects of the piece in the Mail on Sunday with DC Coe that were in conflict with his police evidence statement or other known evidence not just the matter of "The Third Man".  In the article these are the quoted words by DC Coe relating to the body position:
'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 description exactly matches that given by Louise Holmes, the first person to see the body.  Ms Holmes gets to within four feet of the body and is consistent in her police statement evidence and her testimony at the Hutton Inquiry.  Nevertheless in Annex TVP3 you are implying it seems to me that her evidence regarding the body position can't be right and should be disregarded.  About 45 minutes after the body discovery ambulance technician Dave Bartlett is able to stand and work in the space between Dr Kelly's head and the tree. 
I do not believe that at a distance of four feet from the body Ms Holmes would think the head and shoulders were slumped against the tree if the body was a significant distance from the tree.
I should like to be informed as to whether the interviewing officer(s) did discuss the body position with DC Coe in the light of his quoted remarks in The Mail on Sunday.  It would be a matter of great concern surely if the matter wasn't discussed.  There is no suggestion in your submissions to the Attorney General that the point was put to DC Coe.  I have therefore to pose the question as to whether Thames Valley Police misled the Attorney General regarding the vital question as to whether the body was moved.
I am copying this email to the Attorney General's office.  It will also appear on my blog  Blind copies are being sent to others who I feel might have a particular interest in the content. 
Brian Spencer


  1. Hi Brian

    I think TV Plod may have taken the Doc's "unanswerable" remark to mean they don't have to respond to things that are ...... well unanswerable.

    I sent an email in a similar vein to ACC Ball; no response. But what I find amazing is the AG's office is completely blanking the Docs; apart from it being very rude its making them look like a bunch of crooks holed up in a bunker, too scared to defend themselves.

  2. I've written to Kevin McGinty today about the evidence of the position of the body when found, in the context of the Third Application to the Attorney General.

    See The Death of David Kelly - The position of the body when found.

    One issue which Dominic Grieve is trying to obscure is the reality that there are NO photographs of the time when the body was found.