Saturday, 2 July 2011

'An old curving scar'

In his report Dr Hunt, as one would hope, goes in to some detail as to his observations of the body at the post mortem.  Under 'Scars' he writes:

  • Two vaccination scars over the left, upper arm
  • An old, curving scar around the outer aspect of the right elbow
  • There was scars representing possible calluses or treated warts over the inner aspect of the tips of both thumbs
I'm not a medical man but it seems that most of the examination didn't occasion much excitement apart from the wounds to the left wrist of course.  However a "one off" scar was something a bit special I would have thought, particularly as it had the potential in this instance to raise the question of whether there might be a restriction on the use of the right arm.

Dr Hunt had a sizable audience to witness the post mortem.  They included the Chief Investigating Officer DCI Young, 4 SOCOs and 3 detective constables.  The presence of the old curving scar must have produced some interest I would have thought.  This wasn't a case of Dr Hunt just noting it and then failing to appraise DCI Young on a later occasion because everybody was there!

Surely the police would have said to Dr Hunt  'I think we need to check this out before you write up your report'.  They could have approached Dr Warner and Mrs Kelly to find out some background as to why the scar was there.  In fact it was the result of an accident in late 1991 that led to surgery and then physiotherapy being carried out.

We know that Dr Hunt wrote his preliminary report for the coroner on Saturday 19 July.  It very much looks as if no subsequent investigation into the presence of the scar was carried out after the post mortem, at least there is no public record of this.  The scar wasn't discussed at the Inquiry.

If it hadn't been for the publication of Dr Hunt's report last October we would have been none the wiser as to the presence of 'an old curving scar'.



  1. It is well worth reading what Dr Warner says at the Hutton Inquiry. (He produced exhibit MDW/1, whatever that was)
    Very little. Fascinatingly little, in fact.
    When had he last seen Dr Kelly? 4 years ago. Had he prescribed him co-proxamol? No.
    An MoD health check was sent to Dr Warner after 8 July 2003 which contained nothing sigificant. (cf Police interviews of Mai Pederson).
    So why, I ask, is Dr Warner dragged in from his patients to say precisely nothing, which is not under oath in any case? I find that highly significant.

    One question I have - who signed the Formal Notice of death? Dr Hunt confirmed the fact of death, and thus would be the attending doctor, so I would presume it was he. The coroner would then have sent a form 101 to allow burial.
    As far as I can tell, a death such as this can only be registered after inquest.

    But the certificate produced here is not an interim certificate of fact of death ,which will allow probate etc to proceed,but a full but unsigned death certificate. If there has been no inquest, the death cannot be registered. Yet apparently it has been.

    What then was the point of the Hutton Inquiry? Perhaps someone can elaborate? What did the Coroner for Oxfordshire really think??

    PS I now find that this line of thought was covered in the following article:
    I believe David Kelly did not commit suicide - and I will prove it

    By Norman Baker MP
    The Mail on Sunday
    23 July 2006
    (Hansard exchange here
    I am still struggling to find Dr Warner's role here, though. Clearly there was involvement of Dr Warner in the subsequent weeks, viz
    Letter: Dr Malcolm Warner / Coroner's Officer 04.08.03 - not for release - Police operational information TVP/10/0123
    Letter: Ruth Rees (coroner's officer) / Dr M Warner 28.07.03 - not for release - Police operational information TVP/10/0124.

    Would it be normal for the GP to be involved at this time when to all intents and purposes Dr Warner had no contact with his patient who would appear to Dr Warner to be healthy (though could have dropped dead at any moment,according to Nicholas Hunt due to advanced heart disease unknown to his GP!) and did not attend the scene? Again, perhaps someone can advise?

  2. Felix, Lord Hutton's choice of who should attend the Inquiry is intriguing. I don't know when it was decided to ask Dr Warner to attend but it's possible I think that it was after Hutton was told that his Inquiry was effectively supplanting an inquest.

    Did Lord Hutton perhaps believe it was just the correct thing to do to call the GP in an inquest sort of situation? Remember that he didn't have any experience as a coroner.

    It's what witnesses DIDN'T say at the Inquiry that is almost as telling as what they did say! For instance Dr Warner makes no comment about the earlier elbow injury. We only know about this possible problem because of the reference to the scar in Dr Hunt's report and the interview given by Mai Pederson. Neither of these two things would have been anticipated as getting into the public domain at the time the Hutton Report was produced.

    Norman Baker powerfully makes the point that there should have been an interim death certificate and I concur with this. The fact that there is a full death certificate without a signature is unbelievable in my view. There must be hundreds of occasions when an interim death certificate is issued because of months or even years of delay before an inquest is completed. So why not here?

    I don't have a problem about the correspondence between the coroner's officer and Dr Warner. At that time the coroner had yet to be "thrown off the case". The coroner wouldn't have reason to know that Dr Kelly hadn't seen his GP since 1999 etc. Therefore some preliminary enquiries to the GP about Dr Kelly's health would I believe be expected of the coroner in preparing for the inquest.

  3. If Dr Warner was asked to ID the body why was this event kept secret?

    Btw new foi's up on TVP site

  4. I am just a little surprise that Dr Kelly might not have seen his GP in four years over one problem,which Mrs Kelly highlights:
    "He had a bad back"
    Did he take any medication for his back pain, which might have produced enhanced body levels,say, of paracetamol?

    As LL has said, sitting upright unsupported is not a comfortable position for someone with a bad back.

  5. I've been talking to someone I know who has had to attend post mortems. He assures me that the smell that occurs with a dead body in that situation is something you don't want to experience!

    The upshot of the conversation is that you don't attend a post mortem voluntarily, you go because you have to. Also you wouldn't be clustered around the body whilst the pathologist was carrying out his grisly work but try and stand some distance away.