Sunday, 13 May 2012

How many slit wrist deaths had Mr Green seen?

I have already raised the question of how many deaths Dr Hunt had seen that had resulted from a slit wrist.  There is no evidence that he had seen any and therefore he wouldn't have had any practical experience to back up his hypothesis of Dr Kelly dying as a result of self inflicted wrist cutting.  What of Roy Green though, the forensic biologist who worked close to Dr Hunt through that Friday afternoon at Harrowdown Hill.  Perhaps he had come across a death of this nature prior to 18 July 2003.

In his statement Mr Green says:

I hold a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Biological Sciences.  I have been a Forensic Scientist for twenty-five years and during this time I have encountered the evidence types involved in this case on numerous occasions.

This sounds very grand but it isn't clear to me that he has actually seen the blood distribution resulting from a severed ulnar artery before.  Having said that his training and experience ought to have given him some sense of what to expect in this instance.  In a later post I shall comment on what I consider to be his unproven and speculative explanation of where the blood largely went.

At the Hutton Inquiry Mr Green is asked by Mr Dingemans about when he was called out:

Q. Were you involved in the investigation into Dr Kelly's death?
A. Yes, I was and I still am. 
Q. And when was your first involvement?
A. May I refer to my notes, if that is all right?
Q. Yes, of course.
A. I received a phone call on 18th July.
Q. At what time, morning, evening?
A. It was around about dinner time.

Dr Hunt gets to Harrowdown Hill at midday and is soon joined by DCI Young.  I think it would be understandable if they decided yes it would be a good idea to have another specialist to give an opinion especially about any blood distribution.  Dr Hunt was relatively inexperienced as a forensic pathologist and might have wanted reassurance from another expert.  What this meant though was Dr Hunt withdrawing from the scene for about one and half hours while he awaited the arrival of Mr Green.  I find it difficult to imagine exactly what Dr Hunt might have been thinking during this interlude.

One would think that Mr Green was sharing his thoughts about the blood as the afternoon progressed but how valuable his insights might have been is unclear.  By the time the post mortem had been completed, if not before, Dr Hunt seems to be convinced that death was caused by haemorrhage from the incised wounds to the left wrist and moreover that the cuts were self inflicted.  But it was the "wrong" artery if the incisions were made by Dr Kelly and there was the unlikely scenario of the body not sitting up against the tree.

It was one thing for Dr Hunt to miss the obvious anomalies, another though for the more experienced expert Mr Green to miss the same things, or at least not to comment on them.

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