Request To Re-Open Inquest
Into Dr. Kelly's Death

From Rowena Thursby

November 18, 2003
Nicholas Gardiner
Oxfordshire Coroner
(City) Coroner's Office
New Post Mortem Suite
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way
Cc. All National Newspapers.
Dear Mr Gardiner,
Re: The Death of Dr David Kelly & the Hutton Inquiry
I am writing to express my deep concerns over the way the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly has been conducted.
In such a high profile case it is surely questionable that an inquest - where evidence is heard under oath with a jury present - be replaced by an inquiry where evidence is not given under oath and witnesses are not subpoenaed and there is no jury. I understand many witnesses refused to appear at the Inquiry and requested that their statements be withheld. In a straight inquest you, as coroner, would have powers to subpoena witnesses and require them to give evidence under oath.
This would both broaden the scope from that of the Inquiry and increase the reliability of testimonies.
In addition, if Lord Hutton's final report reflects the way the Inquiry has been treated in the media, there is a great danger that anomalies regarding the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death may be disregarded or glossed over in favour of political concerns. If I may, I will in this letter outline some of these anomalies which, in my view, throw a suicide verdict into question.
The Body Moved and Items Appeared Beside It
According to testimonies the first people to see the body of Dr Kelly were the SEBEVs (volunteers) Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman. They both described the position of the body as "against" a tree. Neither of the volunteers reported seeing any of the items around the body seen by other witnesses - watch, knife, bottle of water, cap. Nor were they asked by legal counsel whether they had seen them.
Chronologically the next body-witness was DC Coe, who described the body as laying on its back. After him came two police constables PCs Franklin and Sawyer, who also described the body as laying on its back.
In fact all witnesses subsequent to the volunteers, including the pathologist (Dr Nicholas Hunt), described the body as laying on its back and having beside it various items - watch, knife, bottle of water and cap.
The body-witnesses' testimonies indicate that the body appears to have moved after being seen by the volunteers and before being seen by all subsequent witnesses, and that the items next to the body seem to have appeared after the volunteers had left the death scene (the scene).
It is also noteworthy that PC Sawyer reports that the body's jeans were "ridden up". This might be expected if the body was hurriedly dragged from a 'sitting-up' position to a 'laying-on-its-back' position.
DC Coe took charge of the scene immediately after the volunteers reported to him that they had found a body. I am minded to suggest that either DC Coe moved the body himself, or he must have been aware of who did move the body. If the first two body-witness testimonies are correct, then the body was moved. DC Coe maintained that he did not touch the body and did not mention others moving the body, but if the body was first sitting-up and then laying down, and DC Coe was in charge of the scene at the time, then I can only conclude that in some way DC Coe was involved in moving the body.
Assistant Chief Constable Page mentioned that three individuals in dark clothing were seen by a member of the public acting suspiciously near the scene at the time DC Coe was there. Although ACC Page told the Inquiry that the three have been accounted for as being members of TVP, it is surely worth investigating whether or not this is actually correct. DC Coe himself might have been one of these three individuals, or might have been working with them.
The Officers with DC Coe
First, there is the question of the number of officers accompanying DC Coe.
Five witnesses - the two volunteers, PCs Franklin and Sawyer, and the paramedic (Vanessa Hunt) - clearly state that DC Coe was with two officers. Yet DC Coe himself, testifying some time later, maintains that he was with only one other officer - DC Shields.
Thus, in the six statements with regard to the number of officers accompanying DC Coe, all but one of them - DC Coe's own - state that there are two officers with Coe.
Second, there is the question of whether these officers were in uniform or in plain clothes.
Paul Chapman, identifying them through their Thames Valley Police ID, said they were from CID, so I infer from this they were in plain clothes. Vanessa Hunt testified that DC Coe was with two plain-clothed officers - one "search & rescue" (her interpretation of a man dressed in black polo shirt and trousers), and "one other gentleman". DC Coe himself said he was with only one other companion - the plain-clothed detective, DC Shields.
However PCs Franklin and Sawyer described DC Coe's companions as "uniformed officers".
What am I to infer from these anomalies? If five witnesses say that DC Coe was with two men and he says he was with only one, then it is necessary to find out who is telling the truth. Similarly, if some witnesses say these officers are in plain clothes and others say they are in uniform then that needs to be clarified also. On the face of it, it looks as though DC Coe is not telling the truth about being accompanied by only one officer and that PCs Franklin and Sawyer could also be mistaken about the two officers being "uniformed".
This is surely a matter for cross-examination or much more rigorous scrutiny.
Paucity of Blood
When asked at the end of their testimonies if they have anything to add, each ambulance crew member, paramedic (Vanessa Hunt) and ambulance technician (David Bartlett), independently emphasizes that in their view, there was surprisingly little blood at the scene for an arterial bleed. These assertions may be the most important of the whole Inquiry. The implication from the ambulance crew surely is that if there was very little visible blood produced at the scene for an arterial bleed, then death may not have taken place at that spot or in that manner. Yet far from being probed or examined in any detail as they should have been, these assertions were alternately denigrated by counsel Mr Dingemans, and ignored by counsel Mr Knox.
Vomit Stains from Mouth to Ear
PC Sawyer reported a dark stain (he thought vomit) from the right corner of the mouth to the right ear. David Bartlett also reported that the body had two stains running from both corners of the mouth to each ear. Such stains are clearly consistent with Dr Kelly having vomited in a "laying-on-his-back" position but not in a "sitting-up-against-a-tree" position.
Ambulance Crew Saw no Wounds
Both ambulance crew witnessed the left hand positioned palm-up, and as Dr Hunt reports, it was the left wrist which was wounded. Thus both ambulance crew must have had a good view of the area of the arm and wrist where the five incisions reported by Dr Hunt were made. Yet neither of the ambulance crew members reports seeing any wounds. The blood may have dried onto the wounds and completely covered them but this question needs further exploration.
Ulnar Artery not Radial
The fact that the ulnar artery was severed, but not the radial artery, where the latter is generally far more accessible (closer to the surface) than the former (which is deeper) strongly suggests that the knife-wound was inflicted by drawing the blade from the inside of the wrist (the little finger side closest to the body) to the outside. This is an action that may well have been performed by another party. Yet Dr Hunt's testimony made no mention of the direction in which any of the cuts had been made. I understand that this should be normal procedure for a pathologist's report.
In summary, the points presented above lead to the following possible conclusions:
1. If an arterial bleed was the major cause of death (as stated by Dr Hunt) then there would have been more blood present at the scene of death than was seen by the ambulance crew. Very little blood at the scene suggests that Dr Kelly did not die where his body was found. While Dr Hunt and the forensic biologist (Roy Green) suggest that blood may have disappeared into leaf litter, no evidence has been publicly presented to demonstrate that this was in fact the case.
2. If the cause of Dr Kelly's death was an arterial bleed and there was very little blood at the place where he was found, this suggests he died elsewhere. As has been shown, testimonies suggest that at one point the body was sitting-up, and then later on, laying on its back. This reinforces the suggestion that Dr Kelly did in fact die in a different place and was moved to the copse on Harrowdown Hill. The body may initially have been positioned incorrectly to be consistent with livor mortis and the vomit stains on his face, and had to be repositioned. It is also possible that those setting up the "suicide-scene" were in fact disturbed in their work by the volunteers and that the reason Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman did not see any items surrounding the body was because they had not yet been placed in position.
3. DC Coe was in charge of the scene during the period when the body was moved. It is reasonable to infer from this that either he moved it himself or was aware of others doing so. Secondly, but equally importantly, DC Coe contradicts no fewer than five other witness testimonies when he claims to have been accompanied by just one (and not two) other officers. His testimony appears to be particularly unreliable.
4. Both PCs Sawyer and Franklin report that DC Coe had two uniformed officers with him - contradicting all other testimony. This suggests that their testimony needs rigorous cross-checking with that of witnesses who assert the officers were in plain-clothes.
5. The fact that the ambulance crew state that they did not see actual wounds could indicate that the five incisions in the body's left arm (or some of them) may have been inflicted after they (the ambulance crew) left the scene. An independent examination of the body, or the cause of death evidence, by a second pathologist may be required to ascertain if this is the case.
6. It is remarkable that the ulnar artery was severed rather than the radial given that the radial is far easier to cut - and hence less painful - when attempting suicide. This evidence suggests that the wrist may have been cut by another party.
I trust that you find sufficient material evidence in the above to conclude that Dr David Kelly may well not, in fact, have taken his own life and that another party was involved. If Lord Hutton's final report concludes that Dr Kelly did commit suicide, I would like to strongly recommend your original inquest into Dr KellyÕs death be resumed so that testimonies can be made under oath and with a jury present.
Yours sincerely,




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