Friday, 1 July 2011

The ground underneath Dr Kelly's body

The various witnesses who describe the ground conditions around Dr Kelly's body, either when at the Hutton Inquiry or elsewhere, don't seem to be of one accord.  From my observations the floor of a particular wood can be remarkably consistent or highly variable regarding its vegetation.  In the case of the wood on Harrowdown Hill I would expect considerable variability because of more than one species of tree, trees spaced unevenly and the hill being exposed to weather from all directions.  Add in the known badger activity in the wood leading to some areas of bare ground and one could well imagine that the vegetation underfoot might not be consistent over the area of this particular wood.

The following extracts from the interview of DC Coe (retired) in the Mail on Sunday of 8 August 2010 certainly have a ring of truth about them:

I had to pick my way through brambles and nettles but it wasn’t impassable.

He was lying in the dirt near the base of the tree – in the area where there’s no undergrowth. 

Rather confusingly we have forensic biologist Roy Green saying in his report:

He was lying on his back in the undergrowth of nettles and brambles.

Later Mr Green says:

The leaf litter nature of the ground meant that it would have been very absorbent to blood. 

At the Inquiry Mr Dingemans helpfully suggests to Mr Green that this leaf litter acted perhaps like blotting paper.

There's a particular section of Mr Green's report which aids the identification of the area of the wood where the body was found:

On the edge of the wood there was a wooden gate which opened off the bridle path and gave access to a field.  The deceased had been found approximately 100 metres further up the bridle path and then up to the left into the wood.

Somewhat supporting DC Coe's newspaper description Dr Hunt in his report says:

The body had also acquired some soiling with dirt from the process of undressing at the scene and from movement into the body bag.

At the Inquiry PC Franklin says:

We walked between 50 and 70 metres into the wood up a slight gradient, and in a clearing at the base of a tree was the body of a white male.

My overall impression regarding the position of where the body was found is that there was little or no vegetation underneath the body, some leaf litter in the vicinity but minimal depth certainly at that time of year not deep leaf mould.  Vanessa Hunt talks of some nettles with blood on them near the body.  PC Sawyer indicates that the area beyond the bottle is well nigh impenetrable brambles and undergrowth but how far either side of the body position isn't known.

Finally on page 54 of his book Norman Baker, having been to Harrowdown Hill, emphasises the very variable nature of the wood noting some clearings and other areas very difficult to traverse.


  1. The body was moved that often that several trees could have been involved.

    But Mr Greens report says there were contact stains of blood on the seat of Dr Kelly's jeans, if there was no blood discovered under the body then Dr kelly must have sat in some and then had a lie down.

    Grieve for Justice

  2. Only a small point:
    Dr Hunt finds a Virgin Atlantic pouch over the right hip area.
    Mr Green finds a Virgin Atlantic pouch attached at the front.
    Has someone been meddling, or are they examining the same body??
    And what was the purpose of an empty pouch? Might Dr Kelly have carried more than one mobile phone?
    Mr Green speculates that Dr Kelly had already started to cut his wrist with the blunt schoolboy knife when he decided to open the pouch, then close it again "at something of an angle" (Dr Hunt) leaving his blood under the flap.
    According to Dr Hunt, there was Lighter bloodstaining over the back of the fingers and palm of the right hand. which might conceivably have transferred to the pouch and flap. But quite what the purpose of carrying an empty pouch (this is a man with no wallet, money, identification or credit cards on him) is, and the reason for opening and closing it during suicide is a mystery to me.

    A different explanation is that someone interfered with the body and pouch at the scene,possibly removing something,perhaps a second mobile phone, and transferred blood from Dr Kelly to the pouch.

    Or was perhaps the mobile phone kept in the pouch, then transferred to the Barbour jacket? If so, the mobile phone (not given the number NCH17/1 by Mr Green,surprisingly)would have had bloodstains but was not tested for blood by Mr Green. Why??

    And bloodstains on the heels of his boots and ankles of his socks! How on earth did they get there?

  3. Felix

    Even if you assume Dr Kelly was murdered I am finding it hard to think how the directional blood stain on top of the right heel of Dr kelly's hiking boots.

    The stain "appeared to have originated from the right of the shoe" ???

    Blood specs on the right of Dr Kelly's face, blood staining on the right elbow and shoulder.

    And who diluted the approx 80 mm blood stain on the left leg and why?

    Left leg of the jeans pulled up to mid calf, the right just above the ankle.

    The right leg has a 25mm contact stain just below the knee when the ambulance crew are there but when the pathologist arrives it has grown to 80mm.

    I suspect the answer to this whole riddle may be revealed by Dr Kelly's right leg (incl boot)

  4. LL
    These are interesting revelations which were kept well away from the Hutton Inquiry.
    Mr Green did speculate that Dr Kelly had been kneeling, in which case he would have collapsed forwards.

    The big question is what did he die from? The death certificate is as good as worthless. Little wonder nobody would sign it.

  5. Slightly off the point, but referring to the Daily Mail article re. DC Coe, I wonder why this was removed from later copies of the Mail:

    'An unassuming man, he lives in a well-kept
    £200,000 cottage in an Oxfordshire hamlet with
    his wife Margaret, a former nurse.' ??

    One thing I do know, DC Coe is certainly NOT an unassuming man; his house I am led to believe is worth more than the £200k suggested and Wantage is not a hamlet.

  6. There is some confusion about the DC Coe article. It was written by Matt Sandy for the Mail on Sunday (It can take a little while to load) This contained the reference to DC Coe's home and much else besides.

    A much abbreviated version written by Rebecca Camber appeared on the Mail Online the next day This didn't refer to his cottage.

    Do the Coes live in a hamlet on the outskirts of Wantage? I imagine that they wouldn't want the name of their small hamlet flagged up in the press if they wanted to retain a degree of privacy.