Monday, 22 November 2010

The death of David Kelly - The missing names in the postmortem report

One of many oddities in the documentation of the death of David Kelly is that several names are blanked out in the postmortem report published by the Ministry of Justice: Dr Kelly post mortem and toxicology reports.

In this post I list the places where names are (or seem to be) missing and, where possible, I attempt to identify the individual whose name has been obliterated.

On Page 2 the name of the Police Constable who logged Dr. Hunt into the inner cordon is obliterated.

On Page 2 the name of the Scenes of Crime Officer who showed the video to Dr. Hunt is obliterated.

On Page 3 the name of a Detective Constable is obliterated. It seems plausible that the Detective Constable is from Special Branch. Why else would he/she need to be present at the scene where the body was found. Why didn't that Detective Constable give evidence to Hutton since, arguably, he may have been the only police officer to observe what Dr. Hunt did at the scene?

On the following line a name has been deleted. I assume it is the name of Eileen Hickey, forensic biologist.

On Page 5 the name of the Detective Constable who logged Dr. Hunt out of the inner cordon is obliterated.

The name of the SOCO to whom exhibits were handed is obliterated.

On Page 6 the names of two CID officers, two SOCOs and the Coroner's Officer who observed the postmortem examination are obliterated.

I find the routine need for secrecy revealing. The underlying assumption that the British public has no "right to know" is intriguing.


  1. I notice when going to your link: 'Dr Kelly post mortem and toxicology reports' that the following is added:

    Personal data such as names have been removed from the reports where required in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.

    Seems that DPA can be used as an excuse for anything.

  2. sylvia,
    I think this is an abuse of the Data Protection Act. Whist the act does not allow us to see peoples personal details it does NOT mean they can remain anonymous. These officers are all pulic servants, we are paying them and we are entitled to know who they are and see what they have done.

  3. It's interesting to note that certain names were NOT removed. Was every person whose name appeared in Dr Hunt's report given the option regarding whether their name should be visible (most likely I would have thought)or did some official make a judgement about certain names not being in the public domain. I notice that it is predominantly the "supporting actors" who have had their names taken out.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Frank that these public servants should not be hiding under the cloak of anonymity. Sylvia's last sentence is also very pertinent I think!

  4. With reference to the missing names on the Post Mortem Report:
    I think this removal of the names of witnesses could be more significant than we realise.
    I have insisted all along that the Post Mortem Report that the Ministry of Justice recently made public is not the document they are claiming it to be.
    I have no problem with Dr Hunt completing two or three or even four reports on the post mortem he carried out………By all accounts the man was a complete buffoon and seldom got anything right first time anyway!
    However, what I do take issue with is the way in which the report dated 25th July has been numbered with the same TVP evidence numbers as the report exhibited at the Hutton Inquiry, which was dated 19th July. And I am not happy with the way in which names of ‘witnesses’ to all this have been covered with Tipex.
    Now just stop and think for one minute, why would anybody want obliterate the names of police officers or Home Office staff who witnessed all this? Possibly because they worked for Special Branch, or on the other hand were there people out there who were not happy with what was going on, or even worse, there were people out there who didn't really know what was going?
    Now these people would not be happy were they to have find out they had witnessed and signed their name to something that could well be a serious perversion of justice.
    The Data Protection Act offers no protection to such people. The act is there to protect people’s personal information; it is not there to protect people’s identities from publication.
    So what if someone were to ask for a FOI request from the Coroners Office for that office to name all the witnesses who were present at the post mortem etc and state exactly whose names were obliterated.

  5. Frank

    Whilst I appreciate the reasoning that forms the main thrust of your argument I do believe that the number of versions of the report written by Dr Hunt is also highly relevant. If he had to submit revised reports for any reason this could be indicative of carelessness or of lack of certainty on his part. There are already substantial concerns about his competence.

  6. Yes Brian, I agree, but Dr Hunt’s competence, or lack of competence is not the only issue here.
    What is very important is the FACT that a document has been falsified.
    The post mortem report dated 25th which did not appear in the evidence list at the Hutton Inquiry has had TVP evidence numbers written on it to make it look as if it was the one that was discussed at Hutton and the names of all witnesses to this event have been obscured with Tipex!