The evidence that I'm aware of about the communications mast is sparse. But something may be better than nothing.
At the Hutton Inquiry Janice Kelly gave this evidence on the morning of Monday 1st September 2003 . The following extract is from pages 52 and 53,
25 Q. What time did the helicopter start searching, do you
2 A. It must have been about 1 o'clock. I am not sure.
3 Q. How many police were there then?
4 A. Certainly the three were there. I think they may have
5 been joined by a couple more by this stage.
6 Q. Did you speak to the police at all during that night?
7 A. Yes, all night, all night. Then a vehicle arrived with
8 a large communication mast on it and parked in the road
9 and then during the early hours another mast, 45-foot
10 mast was put up in our garden.
11 Q. For police communications?
12 A. Yes, indeed. And a dog was put through our house. At
13 20 to 5 the following morning I was sitting on the lawn
14 in my dressing gown while the dog went through the
16 Q. Trying to --
17 A. Trying to establish that he was not there.
Notice an example of the strange pattern of questioning at the Hutton Inquiry. Mrs Kelly is asked about the purpose of the mast, about which she can only guess.
Yet, so far as I can trace, Assistant Chief Constable Page who would know the purpose of the mast(s) wasn't asked.
It's a fascinating repeating pattern of questioning at the Hutton Inquiry, isn't it? Ask someone who won't know and avoid asking someone who would know!
In an article in the Daily Mail, Norman Baker wrote the following:
Remember, too, Mrs Kelly's evidence at the Hutton inquiry. From her we learn that, in the early hours of Friday morning, with the search for Dr Kelly still in progress, 'a vehicle arrived with a large communication mast on it and parked in the road, and then during the early hours another mast, a 45ft mast, was put up in our garden'.
Thames Valley Police eventually told me the mast was in fact even higher, at 110ft, and was used to assist radio communications in a recognised reception black spot.
But other police sources I spoke to said that even in an area of poor reception, they would expect a mast only 15ft high to be used. Such a structure might, however, have been required to contact an aircraft a long way away.
Such as the one carrying Tony Blair between Washington and Tokyo that very day, perhaps.
Janice Kelly's evidence is that two communications vehicles arrived. The second she thought had a mast 45 feet high.
Norman Baker (on the basis of an Freedom of Information Act request, I understand) established later that the mast was 110 feet high!
Remember, at this stage David Kelly was simply a missing person.
The public narrative is that they didn't know he was dead.
Where did the first or second communications vehicles/masts come from? We don't know, so far as I'm aware.
What time did each arrive? We're not told by Janice Kelly. I'm not aware of any other source of information on timing.
Is the "communications blackspot" real? Or simply a cover story for the possible much longer distance communication needs?