Thursday, 16 December 2010

The death of David Kelly - Evidence that it was murder

I sent the following communication to Kevin McGinty of the Attorney General's Office on 22nd November 2010.

The substance of my conclusion is founded partly on the postmortem report released by the Ministry of Justice on 22nd October 2010.

The email was entitled,

Death of Dr. David Kelly - Evidence that it was murder

Here is the text.

FAO Dominic Grieve QC, Attorney General

Mr McGinty,

I would be grateful if you would ensure that this email is collated with previous correspondence to the Attorney General from me relating to the need for the Attorney General to seek an order from the High Court that an inquest be held into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

To the best of my knowledge and belief the content of this email is credible, positive evidence of second party involvement in the death of Dr. David Kelly.

In my view, the evidence in this email constitutes "new evidence" in the context of a potential application by the Attorney General to the High Court to seek an order that an inquest be carried out into the death of Dr. David Kelly in 2003.

Given the technical nature of the argument I imagine that the Attorney General (and Thames Valley Police) will require to get independent, expert assessment of the credibility of the argument I put forward in this email.

Briefly, on the basis of a piece of evidence in the recently published postmortem report I conclude that a second party was involved in relation to Dr. Kelly's death and, since I can identify no "innocent explanation" for second party involvement I conclude, therefore, that the death of Dr. Kelly was murder.

I further conclude that Dr. Kelly's body was moved twice rather than the once that has previously publicly been discussed.

The basis for that first bolded statement is a combination of evidence in the postmortem report by Dr. Nicholas Hunt of 25th July 2003 which was made available publicly by the Ministry of Justice on 22nd October 2010 together with evidence from some simple experiments I have conducted since reading the postmortem report.

The following is the relevant part of Dr. Hunt's postmortem report:

• There was a band of what appeared to be vomitus running from the right corner of the mouth, slightly upwards over the right earlobe tip and then onto the right mastoid area. This appeared to have relatively uniform and parallel sides. Such material was noted around the mouth over both upper and lower lips. Vomitus could also be seen running from the left corner of the mouth and there was a possible patch of vomit staining in proximity to the left shoulder on the ground. There was some vomit staining on the back of the left shoulder area of the waxed jacket and also on the outer aspect of the upper sleeve of that side of the jacket.

It is not directly made clear in the postmortem report what direction the vomit from the left corner of the mouth took. However, given that there is vomit staining close to the left shoulder it can reasonably be inferred that on the left side, too, the vomit tracked towards the region of the mastoid.

The existence of the band of vomit from the right corner of the mouth to the right mastoid area is documented at the scene on Page 4 of the postmortem report of 25th July 2003. One can therefore exclude the possibility that the vomit trail was created long after death, for example, during transport of the body to the mortuary in a body bag.

The existence of a track of vomit from the corner of the mouth to the mastoid is evidence that the vomiting occurred while the body was supine i.e. with its back on the ground.

Vomiting in that position and the documented vomit track(s) is strongly suggestive that it was an agonal event, occurring while Dr. Kelly was deeply unconscious or at the point of death.

If Dr. Kelly were conscious at the time of vomiting then quasi-reflexly he would have sat forward (at least to some degree) and/or rolled to the side (to maintain a clear airway) causing the vomit tracks to have been present some distance forward of the mastoid process.

If, as I suggest, the vomiting was agonal occurring while Dr. Kelly was on his back, serious problems arise for the "suicide hypothesis".

There is clear evidence from Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman that the body they saw was "slumped" or "sitting" against a tree. They were the only two individuals who saw the body prior to the arrival of DC Coe on the scene, according to the evidence given to the Hutton Inquiry.

The problem for the "suicide hypothesis" is how the body gets from a supine position to a "slumped" or "sitting" position, given that Dr. Kelly was either unconscious or dead when the vomiting occurred in the supine position.

A further problem for the suicide hypothesis is that vomit does not track from the corner of the mouth to the mastoid area given a slumped or sitting position. It tends to run down from the lower lip (rather than down from the corner of the mouth) far forward of the mastoid area. So the observed vomit tracks on the body are inconsistent with the position of the body when found. (I tested the flow of water from the lax mouth in a variety of body, neck and head positions. It runs from the corner of the mouth to the mastoid area only when the occiput is orientated posteriorly. That is not surprising given the effect of gravity.)

To acknowledge that, in all likelihood, Dr. Kelly died on his back and reconcile that with the first observed position of the body one has to postulate either a "Lazarus hypothesis", the suspension of the Laws of Gravity or the involvement of a second party prior to the body being found by Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman.

The suspension of the Laws of Gravity can safely be discounted. What of the "Lazarus hypothesis"? Could Dr. Kelly have roused sufficiently to sit himself up? Given the likelihood of his being unconscious or dying at the time of the vomiting, I think the possibility of him sitting himself up is far-fetched and need not be considered credible.

Accordingly, I conclude that a second party was present prior to the body being found by Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman. The second party, at a minimum, moved the body from a supine to a slumped or sitting position.

This, in my view, is the first time that the body was moved.

It also appears from the evidence given to the Hutton Inquiry that the body was moved a second time.

Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman gave evidence of a body slumped or sitting against a tree.

The paramedic, Dave Bartlett, gave evidence subsequent to Hutton that he could get between the tree and the head of the body and that he stood there. Since he is the only person who has (so far as I know) directly addressed that point, I take it as true (until such time as the question is examined in more detail at an inquest).

Notice the substantive change of body position from "slumped" or "sitting" against a tree to there being space between the head and the tree.

The body appears to have been moved a second time!

Can either moving of the body be "innocent" and consistent with the "suicide hypothesis".

If the "suicide hypothesis" is correct then, so far as I can identify, no second party (or third party) would have a motive to interfere with the position of the body. It is only necessary to move the body if some purpose is being served by moving it.

I conclude that there is no innocent explanation for the body having been moved on either occasion.

If the body was moved before it was found by Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman then a second party, hitherto unidentified, was present at the scene whose presence was not made known to the Hutton Inquiry.

I can identify no "innocent" explanation for any second party being present at the scene, moving the body and failing to report the presence of the body to, for example, the Police.

I conclude, therefore, that the second party (or parties) had malign intent and that the death of Dr. David Kelly was murder.

The person with greatest opportunity to move the body on the second occasion was DC Coe who, according to the evidence given to Hutton, was the only person with the body while it seemingly moved from the sitting position seen by Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman to the supine position seen by Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt.

For completeness, I will briefly consider the possibility that the vomit trails were created by the movement of the body from its observed initial "sitting" position to a supine position. The experiments I tried with water in my mouth in a "slumped" or "sitting" position then moving to a supine position the water retreated back into the mouth rather than spilling over at the corners of the mouth. Accordingly, I conclude that moving from a slumped / sitting position to a supine position does not account for the existence of the vomit trails.

In this email I have presented the evidence "in isolation". It should, of course, more properly be considered in the context of the totality of the evidence, for example, in the context of the evidence that I presented to you recently that Dr. Kelly had no motive to commit suicide on 17th July 2003.

Given that it is acknowledged by Thames Valley Police that DC Coe lied to the Hutton Inquiry regarding the presence of a third individual at the scene, it seems to me that DC Coe should formally be interviewed regarding the identity of the "third man" and about the conduct of all parties present at or close to the scene between the departure of Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman and the arrival of Dave Bartlett and Vaness Hunt. Similarly "DC Shields" and the "third man" also ought formally to be interviewed by Thames Valley Police, in my view.

In my opinion, the evidence of the need for an inquest is overwhelming.

Similarly, I think there is a very strong case that Thames Valley Police should actively investigate new evidence such as I present here and review the credibility (or otherwise) of assumptions made by them and others in 2003 and the evidence which was based on such questionable assumptions.

I plan to forward a copy of this email to Thames Valley Police, asking them to re-open (if such is necessary) the investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly.

(Dr) Andrew Watt


  1. There is evidence to suggest that Dr Kelly's body was moved 3 times

    1st When it was placed sitting against a tree
    2nd When it was moved flat on it's back a distance from the tree
    3rd When it was moved back towards the tree with the head touching the tree.

    When the search team first discovered the body it was sat against a tree.

    Then when DC Coe arrived and he was left alone with the body with his mate(s) he said the body was lay flat on it's back head towards a tree.

    Then the ambulance crew and official police search team arrive at about the same time. The ambulance technician said he stood in a gap between the tree and the head of Dr Kelly's body. Sawyer (police search team) took photos of the body in the position that the ambulance crew witnessed it in.

    DC Coe was then left alone with the body for a second time when the ambulance crew left the scene and the police search team went to their land rover.

    Hutton said he saw photos of the body with it's head touching the tree. These must have been taken later by the forensic photographer.

    The forensic biologist clearly states at the inquiry "there did not appear to be any
    blood underneath where he was found, and the body was later moved which all suggested those injuries were caused while he was sat or lying down."

    The photographs that show the 2nd and 3rd repositioning of the body have been locked away for 70 years.

    DC Coe and his colleague(s) need to give evidence under oath regarding the position of the body, the proper place for that is at a Coroners Inquest where the various photos taken at the scene can be examined by experts to determine if the position of the body had been interfered with and if so the Coroner can then establish why.

  2. Lancashire Lad - that is an interesting point about maybe another movement of the body after the ambulance crew departed. I had believed that Lord Hutton had been imaginative in his description of the body position from the photo he had seen.

    In the testimonies at the Inquiry it was evident that PC Sawyer's photos were submitted as one would expect. I would have thought that Lord Hutton would have looked at all available photos particularly as he highlighted the apparent discrepancies in body position according to the different witnesses.

    The conclusion I have to draw is that his remark about the body position he had noted from a photo was a work of fiction, or that he had noted different body positions from the various photos but decided to ignore these differences.

  3. Compare and contrast DC Coe’s and PC Sawyers evidence at Huttons inquiry


    17 Q. After the ambulance crew arrived, did you do anything on
    18 the scene?
    19 A. No, I left and left the other officers there, and I left
    20 the actual area of the scene.
    21 Q. Did you have any further involvement in the search of
    22 the scene that day?
    23 A. I did not.


    19 Q. Now, after you had taken the photographs and seen the
    20 body, did you carry out any further searches?
    21 A. Yes. On the way back -- once we had finished with the
    22 body, once the paramedics had finished, we went back
    23 down the common approach path to the path where DC Coe
    24 and the two uniformed officers were. We then walked,
    25 leaving them there to guard the scene so nobody else

    1 could approach it, we then walked back to the truck, our
    2 Land Rover, and drove that up where we got some more
    3 metal poles

  4. Interesting too how DC Coe noted the 10.07 time when in fact he wasn't supposedly at the body when the ambulance crew declared life was extinct. Also DC Coe appears to be out on the path when the other police/ambulance crew arrive at HH.

    Yes DC Coe has a few questions he needs to answer under oath.

  5. The problem with DC Coe is that he didn't have an early slot at the Hutton Inquiry, after which he could return to iron out inconsistencies in his first (and only) questioning. Bryan Wells, for example, was recalled for just that reason to "correct" his first thoughts. Excellent point about the impossibility of recording the 10.07 time. Brian ,which of course you suspected to be a bit early, and which cannot be verified (ambulance records having gone missing). What is its significance in the bigger story?

  6. DC Coe did, in fact, have an early slot at the Hutton inquiry, he was expexted to give evidence after the civilian search team and Franklin, Sawyer and Webb on Tues 2nd Sept in the morning.

    Coe didn't turn up, had he done so his evidence would have been in such stark contrast to Holmes and Chapman that Hutton would have been forced to clarify the position in which the body was found. As it was when Coe turned up two weeks later Hutton was able to gloss over the irregularities.

    22 MR DINGEMANS: My Lord, Detective Coe, we have not been able
    23 to get him here this morning. That, in fact, would then
    24 complete this morning's witnesses. We have finished
    25 now, I am sorry it is a wee bit early.

  7. I notice that DC Coe, giving his evidence two weeks later on the 16th, appeared immediately before Dr Hunt supplied his testimony. No doubt on that day the media took rather more interest in the utterances of the latter than the former!

  8. What made (ex)DC Coe decide to give an interview to the Daily Mail, seven years on, which included many differing details and inconsistencies from that which he gave on 16th September 2003?

  9. The whole business of DC Coe is fascinating. Coe had to appear because he was the "bodyguard" at Harrowdown Hill. It was Paul Chapman who first fingered Coe in a very odd way - there seemed no reason for him to know Coe's name, indeed he did not name the other two CID officers. Why?
    This doesn't seem like an unscripted exchange with Mr Dingemans.
    Then, PC Dean Franklin continues the extraordinary story...
    Q. You mentioned DC Coe. Was he part of your search team?
    A. No.
    Q. What he was he doing?
    A. He was at the scene. I had no idea what he was doing there or why he was there. He was just at the scene when PC Sawyer and I arrived."
    Paul Chapman says the (3) police showed their Thames Valley ID , the inference being that all three were TVP detectives. But were they? Did Mr Chapman inspect all three IDs to see the words Thames Valley?
    Yet DC Franklin says the trio was two uniformed officers and DC Coe (confirmed subsequently by PC Sawyer). No wonder DC Coe was suddenly unavailable.

  10. Felix - in answer to a question from Mr Knox DC Coe says:
    20 A. On the route to Harrowdown Hill I met the two people
    21 from the volunteer search team, a female and Mr Chapman.
    Bearing in mind that it was Paul Chapman that took DC Coe back into the wood to show him the body I think that it is quite possible that they were reaffirmed their names to each other at that time.

    DC Coe may not have identified the other two by name (in fact there may have been a good reason for him not to in the case of "the third man"). My guess is he could have said to Paul Chapman 'These are my colleagues' and they could have made a one second flash of their ID cards. This would have satisfied most people I think if DC Coe had announced his own name and let Mr Chapman have a slightly longer look at his own ID card.

    It seems likely that DC Coe and Paul Chapman were doing all the talking. As with the conversation with the "boat people" my surmise is that Louise Holmes would have been preoccupied with her dog Brock and left Paul Chapman to be their "spokesman".

  11. The other thing Chapman said was

    "11 Q. Did you see anyone on that search?
    12 A. Not until we reached the river and we met the people on
    13 the boat.
    14 Q. How many people were on the boat?
    15 A. Either three or four, I cannot remember.
    16 Q. Did you speak to them?
    17 A. Yes, we did.
    18 Q. What did you say to them?
    19 A. They enquired what we were doing. We explained a search
    20 team assisting the police, looking for a missing person,
    21 and gave them a rough description of his age and said if
    22 they saw anything could they contact the police.
    23 Q. Had they seen anything?
    24 A. They had heard the helicopter and seen some police
    25 officers at some point previously.

    But no police officers were out searching prior to the body being found. What were these police officers doing? Was it Coe and his mate(s) positioning the body for the first time? Did the helicopter drop the body off?

  12. Daphne - one could ask Mr Coe why his version of events has changed seven years on I suppose but my take is this:

    1. 2010 has seen an increased likelihood of an inquest taking place.

    2. There are people in high places that realise the actors in our drama could be called to give evidence under oath. They are decidedly unenthusiastic about this.

    3. Examining the dozens of inconsistencies from the Hutton Inquiry and elsewhere, two of the most evident are the lack of blood at the scene and the fact that witnesses report seeing DC Coe with two other men rather than one.

    4. Dr Hunt goes to the media and recalls that in fact there was more blood around than that he recorded on site on the 18th July particularly inside the left sleeve of Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket.

    5. Mr Coe (now retired) goes to the media and recalls that he was mistaken about the number of people who were with him at Harrowdown Hill. The third man was a trainee who has since left the TVP. So that's all right then.

    6. A little later in the year (on October 22nd) Kenneth Clarke releases the forensic pathologists report and toxicologists report to maintain public confidence.

    I rather suspect that the points enumerated above are interconnected.

  13. Re the helicopter: the flight pattern was extremely odd for an alleged search for a body. There also seemed no need to retreat to Brize Noron for refuelling just to return for another ten minutes or so of "searching" around sunrise. The drop-off theory seems appealing.
    The familiar white tent at Harrowdown Hill is seen plonked about three vehicle widths from the vegetation line. Was it covering up something?

  14. Lancashire Lad - My initial reaction when I read Paul Chapman's testimony about the "boat people" and their reported sighting of police earlier was 'these people must be innocent holidaymakers, why draw attention to this alleged police activity if they (the boat people) were involved in DK's death'. Now my thoughts are towards the possibility of a very clever bluff: the fact that they mentioned police activity to a couple of civilian searchers would very much suggest, as it did to me, that they really were innocent holidaymakers and therefore the police would swallow that story!

    I remember that you postulated the possibility of the helicopter being used for the body delivery in response to one of John Rentoul's really silly posts. This is an intriguing theory and would suggest to me that DK's killing was an all British business; I'm not sure that I would go along with that though.

    For an alternative way of body delivery it is worth reading an earlier entry on this blog and in particular the first comment from "frank"

  15. The time-line of police response is also very curious. Forget operation Mason for the moment, when the police received the telephone call reporting Dr Kelly missing they turned up mob handed at the Kelly home within 15 minutes, a really quite remarkable feat. Then in no time at all various radio masts are erected and helicopter scrambled.

    But was it Mrs Kelly's delay in calling the police that caused Dr Kelly's dental records to go missing? I can imagine an Oh S**t moment when his disapearance failed to ring alarms "Did we whack the right bloke?"

    And Brian I tend to agree with you, if Dr Kelly was murdered I don't believe it was an all British affair. When Dr Kelly started to blab to the media about things regarding the war; the yanks would have been equally or more concerned regarding Dr Kelly's continuing reliability. I think it quite possible for GWB to have done a favour for his mate, informing him beforehand of the impending suicide. The body would be delivered to an airbase and the Brits would then be left to wash up.

  16. If the scenario that I posted just now was to hold credence then the helicopter night flight would have been rehearsed several times.

    Does anyone know if there had been unusual helicopter night flights around Harrowdown Hill in the run up to Dr Kelly's death?

  17. The visit by Tony Blair to Washington during the Kelly disappearance was a completely pointless exercise otherwise and generated a modicum of speculation on the other side of the Atlantic too. The President's Press Secretary in Africa shortly before seemed quite unaware of the impending visit, and it also involved TB flying to Japan the long way. All very strange.