Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The death of David Kelly - Seemingly trivial discrepancies in emails on 17th July 2003

This post concerns seemingly trivial discrepancies in the documentary evidence for the events of 17th July 2003.

At 09.22 David Kelly sent an email to Wing Commander John Clark, Email: David Kelly / John Clark 17.07.03, giving answers to earlier Parliamentary Questions about meetings with journalists.

However, there is a time discrepancy since the version on Dr. Kelly's computer, E Mail from Dr Kelly 17 July 03, indicates it was sent at 10.22.

Perhaps Dr. Kelly's computer was on British Summer Time and the MoD's computer on Greenwich Mean Time?

But that doesn't explain all the discrepancies.

The 09.22 version provided by the MoD has a stated attachment, PQs.doc, whereas the 10.22 version from Dr. Kelly's computer does not.

The 09.22 version provided by the MoD has a redacted copy recipient (or recipients), whereas on the 10.22 version from Dr. Kelly's computer the name "Bryan Wells" is written in manuscript (there is no typed name of any copy recipient).

A number of questions seem to me to arise:

1. How is it that an email supposedly among Files retrieved from Dr Kelly's home computer includes a copy recipient's name in manuscript?

2. How are the discrepancies between the MoD version and the version among Files retrieved from Dr Kelly's home computer to be explained?

3. Could the computer clock on Dr. Kelly's computer be inaccurate? Or have been tampered with? In other words, is the timing of other emails supposedly sent by David Kelly on 17th July 2003 also to be called into question?


  1. Andrew,

    I have had a closer look at DK's emails. It's strange that of the 8 emails he sent on 17th July all appear to have been sent at 11:18 and yet two of those emails are in a different font and have a different layout in terms of the position of the text that is the out-going message to that of the ---Original Message--- which appears indented on some emails but right out to the left hand margin on others. Also take a look at COM/4/0076. Look at the date format, it reads: 17 July 2003 11 18 whereas on other emails the date reads 17 July 2003 11:18
    Think we need to look closer at all the other emails!

  2. Also, I have just noticed that on some emails if you look at the top of the page, the senders details inc. time of message etc is spaced out leaving a gap between the senders name etc and the words 'From, Sent, To and Subject' whereas there is no such gap on other emails.
    He could of course have been using two different computers but then they wouldn't both send at the same time (11:18)
    Very strange!

  3. Frank,

    I was aware that all David Kelly's emails were sent at 11.18.

    I had assumed that he composed emails offline then sent them in a batch.

    That, of course, is still possible.

  4. Frank,

    As far as font goes, there does seem to be some pattern at least from 1st July 2003 emails onwards.

    If the header is Loftus, Paul (L&DR-LON) then there is a sans-serif font.

    If the header is Loftus, Paul (LDR-LON) then it's a serif/teletype font.

    I'm assuming that Paul Loftus is the Thames Valley Police's (or other force's?) computer investigator.

    Maybe he is using two different computers to print out the emails? No obvious reason why he'd do that but it maybe explains the differences.

  5. Frank,

    If you type the following into Google,

    Loftus site:the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk

    you'll see that there are multiple different Paul Loftus headers.

    I don't see an obvious explanation for that variation at the moment.

  6. I can see how the emails sent on the 17th may have been sitting in his 'outbox' until he sent them but this does not explain the other changes in format etc

  7. Is the 10.22 reply in answer to the 9.28 (attached) request from someone called James (MOD/30/0051)? (this is only attachment 5 to a much longer email which may have come from Clark)

  8. Felix,

    "James" is James Harrison who gave oral evidence on 27th August 2003 and 24th September 2003 (See http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/hearing_trans.htm.

    As I mentioned in my post about the "live" Parliamentary Questions on 17th July 2003, there were five PQs for Written Answer from Mr. Jenkin.

    I think that probably explains the "attachment 5" which should maybe read "attachments 5".

  9. I have just noticed that Lord Hutton intervened in the questioning by Mr Knox of (James) Harrison sender of the emailed PQs and MOD/30/0051.
    "LORD HUTTON: Do I understand they were all sent at 9.25 am?
    A. 9.28 am, my Lord, yes.
    MR KNOX: I think we can actually see your e-mail at MoD/30/51.
    A. That was the covering e-mail, my Lord, and the four PQs were attached to it.
    LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much. Yes."

    Is it a covering letter?

    The explanations by Harrison for the timings and copying of these PQs are somewhat tortuous, as usual relying on someone being absent and the seeming inability of Wing Commander Clark to forward emails.
    "There was in fact no reason to consider concealing them from him by not making them available to him. I had access to e-mail to be able to forward them to David, which John Clark did not." (!)
    But, there was really no need to forward them to him....

    As Harrison says..
    "They seemed to me primarily matters for Richard Hatfield, the personnel director, and his staff in terms of making formal replies; that nevertheless I thought that David should be aware of them and I proposed therefore to forward them to him"
    So, in other words, no need to send them to him, especially since Hadfield had already got much of the information at interview here at a meeting on 7th July with Hatfield Howard and Wells, MOD/45/0016 et seq
    However,James Harrison thought that the pressure peak on Dr Kelly had passed.

  10. Felix,

    I think the reason for forwarding the PQs to David Kelly was because they concerned him.

    Somewhere (I don't immediately remember where) the MoD, I think, committed to keeping David Kelly informed.

    At least some of Mr. Jenkin's questions aren't primarily for David Kelly to answer, but if I had been David Kelly I'd have wanted to be kept informed, I think.

  11. Notice elsewhere how Andrew Gilligan's electronic note taker is somehow 16 HOURS out, showing him making notes on the mysterious interview of 22 May on 21 May , the day prior to it occurring! (Dr Kelly affirmed that he only used pencil and paper). All explained away, of course, by computer error...