Wednesday, 26 January 2011

"Who will rid me of this water bottle"

"Who will rid me of this water bottle".  These are words that Forensic Pathologist Dr Hunt might have been inclined to say I think.  Certainly neither in his report nor in his evidence to Hutton can we see very much enthusiasm to talk about the innocuous Evian water bottle.  I know I have dealt with the subject in some depth before and for convenience I'll list the previous posts here:
There are just one or two other things to record and then hopefully this blog will have finished with that particular subject for a while.

Just looking at the most recent of the links above about the odd position of the water bottle: I had quoted what the various witnesses had said about the positioning and I need to add some comment to that.  Vanessa Hunt and PC Sawyer in particular had mentioned the bottle position in relation to Dr Kelly's head.  In some contrast Dr Hunt tells us it is about a foot away from his left elbow and also propped against some broken branches.  Reading the accounts mentioned you might ask yourself is Dr Hunt's bottle the same one!  Well, yes it is because I believe both descriptions are correct.

Before I put my "forensic head" on I admit I was caught out by Dr Hunt's description.  If you don't peruse all the evidence you might naturally think of Dr Kelly's left arm placed loosely by his left side in a "normal" sort of position.  Dr Hunt's description of the water bottle location might easily lead you to thinking that it is say a third of the way down his body - not ideal evidence but you think to yourself "a bit odd but yes quite possible to reach over with his right hand so I'll buy into that".  Look further into the body position as described by Dr Hunt and you realise that Dr Kelly's  upper left arm is oddly positioned and in line with the shoulder blades.  Take that into account and then it is possible to see how it can be both about a foot from David Kelly's left elbow and also not far from his left ear.  Readers might care to ponder why Dr Hunt didn't mention that the water bottle was oddly placed close to Dr Kelly's head .....

In his published report Dr Hunt includes detail about seeing the scene video and records seeing the knife and wristwatch by the body.  No mention at this point of the water bottle which, propped up, ought to have been a more significant item than the wrist watch!  At the Inquiry Mr Knox has found out the bottle position ('about a foot away from his left elbow') and then this is the ensuing bit of conversation: 

Q. And did you notice anything in particular about the bottle?
A. Yes, there was some smeared blood over both the bottle itself and the bottle top.
Q. Did that indicate anything to you? 

A. It indicated that he had been bleeding whilst at least placing the bottle in its final position. He may already have been bleeding whilst he was drinking from it, but that is less certain.

Now, as I had previously explained, unless you are some sort of contortionist (and I don't believe Dr Kelly was) it's just not possible for him to place the bottle in the position described more particularly by Vanessa Hunt and PC Sawyer.  Moreover the bottle was found propped up and with its top close by.  Toward the end of his testimony Dr Hunt is reeling off the conclusions that he has itemised in his reportSupporting the suicide hypothesis we have this extract:

Other features at the scene which would tend to support this impression include the relatively passive distribution of the blood, the neat way in which the water bottle and its top were placed, the lack of obvious signs of trampling of the undergrowth or damage to the clothing. To my mind, the location of the death is also of interest in this respect because it was clearly a very pleasant and relatively private spot of the type that is sometimes chosen by people intent upon self harm.  (My emphasis)

You might possibly arrange something in a neat way at the start of your suicide bid I suppose if you were not going to have further recourse to it.  But here we have someone dying, needing water to swallow his 29 tablets and replenish his fluids as he is losing blood.  Then we are told that he has neatly positioned the bottle and its top as he has decided to commit suicide.  It is totally, utterly ridiculous.


  1. Brian,

    It may need a contortionist to position the bottle if the contortionist is fully healthy.

    If the supposed "contortionist" also has a possible defect in movement of his right elbow the supposed positioning of the bottle becomes even more in question.

    It seems to me that a far more natural place for the bottle to be found with its top off if it was David Kelly who placed it there is between his thighs.

  2. Apart from the lack of fingerprints the most suspicious aspect, to me, is that the knife, watch and bottle are on the left of the body.

    The positionings are not logical and can someone who has partially severed the tendons in their hand grip a bottle with one hand and the top with the other and unscrew the top?

  3. LL, I totally agree with the illogicality of the knife, watch and bottle positions to which one can add the Barbour cap. I think it was Dave Bartlett who also noticed the oddity of everything being in a line.

    If DK allegedly swallowed 29 tablets then I'm assuming that he would have used the water bottle then, but would he have left the top off? I think automatically he would have replaced the top, especially as he would have been mindful of not losing any water. So yes he would then have been faced with the problem of unscrewing the top with one hand damaged.

    One has to wonder why the search volunteers weren't questioned about any of the artefacts that were found close to the body.

    Once the searchers had left the scene there was a time window for the body to be moved and perhaps some items added to the scene. It took 20 minutes for the ambulance to be called following the 999 call from Paul Chapman. This inexplicable delay could be due to the desire to buy a little time. Once Vanessa Hunt and Dave Bartlett arrived things had to be in place.

    If it wasn't for the concerns and integrity of the ambulance crew a lot more of this episode would be covered up.

  4. Also Brian the left hand position thing is just not right. By the side of the body, then stretched out, then at a funny angle, then palm down, then wrist/palm up. It's a good job so many photographs and the video were taken so that the coroner can get to the truth.

    I have a horrible suspiscion that the hacking to Dr Kelly's wrist continued after the search team had left.

  5. One thing which puzzles me - Dr Kelly was found to have nothing in his jeans pockets. (Mr Hunt's report). Nothing? OK then. Fair enough. Everything in his Barbour.