Friday, 27 May 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Some questions for DC Graham Coe

I thought it might be interesting to post a list of possible questions which might be put to DC Graham Coe if he were asked to give evidence on oath at an inquest.

DC Coe's oral testimony to the Hutton Inquiry is here.

The ordering of the suggested questions follows the sequence of information addressed during his testimony to the Hutton Inquiry.

  • Which senior officer sent you to the Longworth area?

  • You interviewed Ruth Absalom. Please read the record of her evidence that you made in your notebook.

  • What part of Ruth Absalom's evidence led you and your colleagues to head towards the River Thames?

  • You said you were assigned to house to house inquiries. On whose authority did you discontinue those and head towards the River Thames?

  • Did you seek authority from a more senior officer for discontinuing house to house inquiries?

  • Which two colleague(s) accompanied you during the house to house inquiries?

  • When you headed towards the River Thames who accompanied you?

  • How was it that you came to head towards Harrowdown Hill?

  • Can you specify where you met Paul Chapman?

  • At what time did you first see the body?

  • When Mr. Chapman showed you the body, did you return to the track with him? Or did you leave him to return alone to the track?

  • Please read out the observations regarding the body and the surrounding scene that you made in your notebook.

  • Was the head of the body against the trunk of a tree or some distance from a tree?

  • Did you remain with the body until other Police officers arrived?

  • In your evidence to the Hutton Inquiry you said that you stayed at the scene yet you also said you took other officers to the body. If you stayed with the body how could you take someone to it?

  • Did you see the ambulance staff?

  • Did you stay at the scene while the ambulance staff determined whether or not life was extinct?

  • If not, how did you come to have 10.07 in your notebook as the time when life was pronounced extinct?

I'm sure others can improve on or add to the list of questions which a QC might ask DC Coe at an inquest, but thought that attempting to create a list might stimulate thinking and debate about the gaps and/or inconsistencies in DC Coe's evidence to Lord Hutton.


  1. Did you leave by Helicopter? If so, who else was on board?

    Q. After the ambulance crew arrived, did you do anything on the scene?

    DC Coe: "No, I left and left the other officers there, and I left the actual area of the scene"

  2. Felix,

    Yes, that's an odd line from Coe isn't it?

    Did he leave alone or did he leave with DC Shields and "Harry Lime" (the Third Man)?

  3. Did you re-open the cadaver's wrist wound or was that DCI Young?

  4. LL,

    I think you're following a red herring there.

    Even if, hypothetically, anyone interfered with the wrist wounds at, say, 10.00 on 18th July 2003 it would have zero or negligible effect. I would expect zero effect, in terms of more blood flowing which is how I interpret your comment.

    By that time David Kelly had been dead for upwards of 12 hours (my estimate from the stated rectal and ambient temperatures) so "re-opening the wound" wouldn't cause any blood to flow.

  5. I accept, on its own, opening up the wound would not cause blood to flow from the body. But with the use of gravity or heart massage (through chest compressions) it would be possible to make blood flow again from the wound once scabs had been removed or new incisions made.

    Vanessa Hunt said there was no huge puddle of blood when she was there but Dr Hunt said there was a pool of blood by the injury that stretched 2 to 3 feet.

    The ambulance crew said the injured wrist was facing upwards, the wound not visible because it was covered in dried blood.

    Franklin and Sawyer say the injury was not visible because the palm was facing downwards.

    Dr Hunt said (newspaper interview) that the wound had been repeatedly picked of scabs to ensure continued blood flow.

    The evidence is clear;

    After the ambulance crew left the scene more blood appeared. The injured wrist was turned over and scabs removed.

    I cannot think of any other explanation than more blood being forced from the body to co-ordinate the new position of the wrist (after the body was moved from sat against a tree to lying flat)

    There is also evidence that the original pool of blood under the wrist, when the body was sat against a tree was covered with a Barbour hat. Why else did it have blood staining on it?

    Dr Hunt also states in his post mortem report that livor mortis was still mobile which indicates not only that the internal blood was still fluid but the repositioning of the body may not have been necessary after all. How ironic is that?

  6. PS Andrew

    Sawyer took photo's of the scene whilst the ambulance crew were present; if those photos still exist they can be compared with the photos that the forensic team's photographer took.

    There should be absolute proof of whose recollection of the scene is true. I think the ambulance crew were telling the truth (wound face up covered in dried blood, not much blood on the ground)

    I also think Franklin, Sawyers & Hunt's accounts are truthful (wrist facing down, wound picked, big pool of blood)but this was the scene after the ambulance crew left.

    Is this what DCI Young was busy with between 9.20am and 12.06pm?

  7. Andrew

    I beg your pardon, the last sentence should read "Is this what DCI Young was busy with between 9.20am and 11.00am?"

  8. Q. At which station are you stationed?
    A. I am stationed at Wantage in Thames Valley.

    One wonders about the stationing of detectives in probably a very small police station, which on the 18th July 2003 attracted even the Chief Constable,and how long DC Coe might have been stationed there.

  9. The Chief Constable, Peter Neyroud also put in an appearance at Wantage on Friday or Saturday 18/19 July - or perhaps both....

    The Daily Mirror of Monday 21 July 2003 writes of Mrs Ruth Absalom :
    "Ruth, 75, was walking her dog Buster when she met her friend in fields not far from his Oxfordshire home. "

    At the Hutton Inquiry, suddenly she is catapulted to a road junction in Longworth.

    Farmer Paul Weaving was also alleged to have seen Dr Kelly in farmland...
    "He was seen by farmer Paul Weaver [sic] as he walked through farmland north of the A420 near his home." as reported in the Sunday Times of 20 July 2003.
    Weaving later denied the sighting.