Sunday, 26 December 2010

Lord Hutton - a liar or an incompetent?

Lord Hutton, in writing his Report following the completion of the Inquiry, attempts to deal with the inconsistencies between different witness testimonies about events at Harrowdown Hill on the 18th July 2003.  Just to repeat again part of 151 in Chapter 5:

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 - therefore a witness could say either that the body was lying on the ground or slumped against the tree.   

Unfortunately Lord Hutton didn't know who took this photo 'but it is likely to be a police photographer'.  At least this is what he says in reply to a question from Norman Baker as recorded in Mr Baker's book.  Well one would expect that as I assume that all the police photos taken on the 18th would  be submitted to the Inquiry.  We know that PC Sawyer took a number of photos on his arrival at the scene at about 10 o'clock  and that later that morning Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCOs) appeared and in the "forensic" phase doubtless more pictures were taken prior to the necessary but limited movement of Dr Kelly when Dr Hunt examined him. 

At this point it's worth reading an entry by Andrew Watt on his Chilcot's Cheating Us blog of 16 December and to read the comments following it, particularly from "Lancashire Lad".  You will see that LL has itemised some of the evidence from the Inquiry from PC Sawyer and from DC Coe and contrasted them.  DC Coe's position is that once PCs Franklin and Sawyer appear on scene the former of these two PCs takes over responsibility and that he, Coe, has nothing further to do with the investigation that day.  PC Sawyer's take is somewhat different suggesting that he and PC Franklin went back down the track to bring their Land Rover up whilst leaving DC Coe and colleagues guarding the body. 

As an aside here why was it necessary for both the PCs to return to their vehicle to drive it up closer (I'm not clear from the evidence as to whether they just brought the Land Rover further up the track at this stage or started using the field immediately to the east of the wood - the field with the white tent that was to become familiar in media reports).  If I had been PC Franklin my natural desire in taking things over would be to stay with the body and detail PC Sawyer to drive up the lane. 

Now Lancashire Lad makes the very valid point that perhaps here was an opportunity for DC Coe to pull the body back toward the tree if he was so minded and that new position is what the forensic photographer recorded and the same photo that Lord Hutton subsequently saw and commented on.  The problem here for me is that such an act by DC Coe would be fraught with peril - he would know that the photographic record would prove that the body had been moved and that PCs Franklin and Sawyer would be aware of this and then become part of a conspiracy (assuming that they weren't before of course).  Another movement of the body after the ambulance crew leave the site is possible in my opinion rather than probable.   I can't remember where I saw it but think I read somewhere about Mr Coe now recalling that yes Dr Kelly's head was against the bottom of the tree, rather like Lord Hutton's description by the sound of it!

Subsequent to the Inquiry the ambulance crew of Vanessa Hunt and Dave Bartlett have thankfully expanded our knowledge of the situation at Harrowdown Hill and we now know that there was space between Dr Kelly's head in which Mr Bartlett could stand.   If Lord Hutton was looking at one of PC Sawyer's photos and used this sighting as the basis of his remark in Chapter 5 of the Report then I believe that he is clearly guilty of lying.   If we give him the benefit of the doubt and admit there were photos of Dr Kelly in different positions then it is possible that he saw a photo as he described.  But if he was doing his job competently then surely he would have had a look at all the photos lodged and picked up on the fact that there was a discrepancy between the photos taken at the "discovery" stage and those taken later at the "forensic" stage.

I think what may have surprised Hutton is firstly that the ambulance crew had the honesty and integrity to go public over their concerns when they saw conclusions not making sense and secondly that there are some of us out here who just don't meekly accept what other people say when we see things that are just plain wrong.   


  1. Why DC Coe was left alone with the body for a second time is a mystery particularly when you study what PC Sawyer say about who was with him and Franklin.

    “18 found. I then left with Police Constable Franklin to
    19 attend the scene.
    20 Q. Can you remember what time it was that that information
    21 came in?
    22 A. It would have been about 9 o'clock, I believe.
    23 Q. So you then leave with Police Constable Franklin?
    24 A. Yes.
    25 Q. And anyone else?

    1 A. We had three other officers in the back who we took from
    2 the search team to act as the cordons, because obviously
    3 we do not want members of the public or members of the
    4 press approaching the scene until it has been obviously
    5 searched and declared sterile.
    6 Q. And where did you then go?
    7 A. We then went to the track that leads up to
    8 Harrowdown Hill, I do not know the name of the track,
    9 but when we arrived we saw a vehicle parked which
    10 belonged to Louise. We started walking up the track.
    11 We also had with us two paramedics who had arrived,
    12 which we took up with us to make sure that the person we
    13 were going to see did not require any medical
    14 assistance.
    15 Q. Those two paramedics had obviously arrived separately
    16 from you?
    17 A. They had arrived more or less at the same time we did.
    18 So the five of us went up because we were with
    19 Sergeant Alan Dadd as well.”

    Regarding Coe’s version of events he said

    “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.”

    Coe did not say the head was touching the tree. Hutton said it was touching, the search crew said the body was sitting / head & shoulders slumped against a tree and the ambulance technician said it was a distance from the tree, so much so that he could stand in the gap.

    A set of photo’s were taken by PC Sawyer when the ambulance crew were present, these must show the body some distance from the tree but Hutton saw a photo and said “most of his body was lying on the ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree”.

  2. Was Hutton lying? Well he may have got confused when Paul Chapman told the inquiry

    “The body of a gentleman sitting up against a tree.

    1 Q. And can you recall what he was wearing?
    2 A. All I could see from the distance I got was he was
    3 wearing a dark jacket and light coloured shirt.
    4 Q. And how close did you get to the body?
    5 A. I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it.
    6 Q. Could you see anything at all?
    7 A. He was sitting with his back up against a tree and there
    8 was an obvious injury to his left arm.”

    And then

    “11 Q. Did you show them the body?
    12 A. Yes. We walked back up the hill with the three of them
    13 and then they decided as they got a bit closer to the
    14 edge of the wood that I needed only to take one of the
    15 officers in, so I took DC Coe in to show him where the
    16 body was.”

    But Hutton in his summing up said

    “On the way back to their car they met three other police officers who themselves had been engaged in searching the area and Mr Chapman told them that they had found the body. Mr Chapman then took one of the police officers, Detective Constable Coe, to show him where the body was. Mr Chapman showed Detective Constable Coe the body lying on its back and Detective Constable Coe said that the body was approximately 75 yards in from the edge of the wood. Detective Constable Coe saw that there was blood around the left wrist and he saw a knife, like a pruning knife, and a watch on the left side of the body. He also saw a small water bottle. He remained about seven or eight feet away from the body and stayed in that position for about 25 or 30 minutes until two other police officers arrived who made a taped off common approach path to be used by everyone who came to the place where the body was lying.”

    Did Hutton lie about what position the body was in when Chapman took Coe to the scene? Did Hutton lie about what position he saw the body in a photo? Was Coe’s delay in giving evidence at the inquiry a deliberate ploy in order to obfuscate evidence and not draw attention to the fact that the body had been moved? If Coe had given evidence immediately after the ambulance crew as had been planned the subterfuge would have been rumbled immediately, instead Coe gave evidence 2 weeks later and inconsistencies were papered over.

    There is evidence that Hutton misled his own inquiry either deliberately or otherwise; there is evidence that the body was moved. There is evidence that the inquiry returned dishonest conclusions. These are the facts!

  3. Other lelling points; the pathologist noted of Dr Kelly's jeans that the right leg had been pulled up to mid calf and the right to above the ankle. I can only deduce that Dr Kelly must at some point have been dragged by his feet.

    Also the forensic biologist noted a contact blood stain on the right knee of the jeans indicating that Dr Kelly had knelt in a pool of blood at some point.

    But the most telling points of the pathologist's evidence (or evasion of it)was in the closing parts of his evidence at the inquiry.

    "Q. You have already dealt with this, I think, but could you
    23 confirm whether, as far as you could tell on the
    24 examination, there was any sign of third party
    25 involvement in Dr Kelly's death?

    1 A. No, there was no pathological evidence to indicate the
    2 involvement of a third party in Dr Kelly's death.
    3 Rather, the features are quite typical, I would say, of
    4 self inflicted injury if one ignores all the other
    5 features of the case.
    6 Q. Is there anything else you would like to say concerning
    7 the circumstances leading to Dr Kelly's death?
    8 A. Nothing I could say as a pathologist, no.
    9 LORD HUTTON: Thank you for your very clear evidence,
    10 Dr Hunt.
    11 A. Thank you, my Lord. "

    "No pathological evidence"? So maybe non pathological evidence existed but he was too shy to mention it?

    "Rather, the features are quite typical, I would say, of self inflicted injury if one ignores all the other features of the case."

    This is moving into Monty Python territory!


    "Nothing I could say as a pathologist, no."

  4. LL - no problem! Using my editorial powers I've now deleted the duplication.

    I've wondered what part Sergeant Alan Dadd might have played at Harrowdown Hill. Did he just come along for the ride? From the ambulance crew's evidence at the Inquiry and subsequent press interviews it's evident that there was a considerable police presence by the time the police land rover and ambulance arrive at the track up to Harrowdown Hill.

    It's possible that these other (anonymous) police had only just got out of their cars but it seems that it is PCs Franklin and Sawyer who are immediately proactive and quickly heading up the track.

  5. Brian thanks for tidying me up.

    Yes Sgt Dadd's presence is unexplained. He apparently must have arrived in a seperate vehicle to Franklin, Sawyer + 3 "cordens"

    But it also appears that the 3 police officers who were brought as cordens were left where the cars were parked.

    The ambulance crew arrive at the same as the police at the car park and they with Dadd, Franklin and Sawyer climb the path to Harrowdown Hill.

    It appears that when the ambulance crew had finished their work and left Sawyer had finished taking photographs, Franklin and Sawyer returned to the Landrover; but what of Dadd? Where was he when the body was moved?

    Hutton wanted to hear from both search team members, he wanted to hear from both ambulance crew but he only wanted to hear from 3 of the nine police officers first on the scene; Coe, Franklin and Sawyer. Hutton wasn't interested to know what Dadd was doing there, he didn't want to hear what the 3 "cordens" had to say and he wasn't even interested in establishing the existence 1 of Coe's two friends.

    However I don't think Dadd was just along for the ride but I expect that we'll find out what he was doing when the government is forced to hold an inquest.

  6. Well, Sgt Dadd was obvioulsly the officer above PCs Sawyer & Franklin from the same TVP Tactical Support Group which was, if we are to believe it, based then in the Royal Lodge, the former Queen Mother's house in Windsor. So why was he not giving evidence, as indeed the mysterious DCI Young should have been , he who ran the TVP Tactical Support Operation Mason?

    I really don't think that Hutton wanted the Ambulance personnel there - but they HAD to be there becaue they had to pronounce the body which had been found as dead. Otherwise, nobody would have believed anything as every other dramatis persona in this expensive charade was part of the cover-up. And whose records go missing?

  7. Felix - when Lord Hutton wrote his report he must have been desperately hoping that his comment about seeing a photo of DK with his head against the tree would bring closure. He hadn't reckoned on the integrity of the ambulance crew of course who could see that the evidence at the Inquiry didn't stack up and felt duty bound to express their concerns about insufficient blood at the scene for an arterial bleed.

    Dave Bartlett's remark post the inquiry about having space in which to stand between DK's head and the tree has just compounded the misery for Hutton.