Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Family and the knife

When Mrs Kelly attended the Hutton Inquiry on 1 September 2003 Mr Dingemans had little option but to ask her about the knife.  This is the relevant part of her evidence: 

Q. We have heard about the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death and the fact that a knife was used. Were you shown the knife at all?
A. We were not shown the knife; we were shown a photocopy of I presume the knife which we recognised as a knife he had had for many years and kept in his drawer.
Q. It was a knife he had had what, from childhood?
A. From childhood I believe. I think probably from the Boy Scouts.

It appears that there was nothing to distinguish this knife from any similar knife.  I would suspect that part of the "identification" was derived from the fact that the knife was missing from the draw.

In paragraph 146 of his report Hutton says:

Very understandably the police did not show the knife found beside Dr Kelly's body to his widow and daughters but the police showed them a photograph of that knife. It is clear that the knife found beside the body was a knife which Dr Kelly had owned since boyhood and which he kept in a desk in his study, but which was found to be missing from his desk after his death.

He then sets out the quoted evidence I have already given.  Paragraph 146 is completed as follows;

And in a statement furnished to the Inquiry Police Constable Roberts stated:
The knife found in possession of Dr David Kelly is a knife the twins, Rachel and Ellen recognise (from pictures shown by Family Liaison Officers). It would not be unusual to be in his possession as a walker. They have seen it on their walks with him. He would have kept it in his study drawer with a collection of small pocket knives (he did like gadgets) and the space in the study drawer where a knife was clearly missing from the neat row of knives is where they believe it would [have] lived and been removed from.

In the evidence tab on the inquiry website there ought to be mention of the statement by WPC Roberts but as yet I haven't located it.  There is I think just this statement from her about Dr Kelly's handedness: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090128221550/http://www.the-hutton-inquiry.org.uk/content/tvp/tvp_16_0001.pdf  It can be seen that there was an extraordinary delay in making the statement relating to David Kelly's handednessWhereas she spoke to Sian about this it was Rachel and Ellen who appeared to have given information about the knife so it wouldn't be surprising in my view if WPC Roberts made separate statements about these matters.

I might have missed the other witness statement from the WPC in the evidence lists.  Please add a comment if you see it!

The suggestion that there was a space in the drawer where a knife was clearly missing I have to treat with some scepticism.  Unless the knives were separated by being in their own compartments for example then I find it difficult to believe with the opening and closing of the draw that Dr Kelly's knives would neatly stay in a line.  My experience of putting things in a draw is that they don't stay arranged for long if merely neatly placed.

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