Saturday, 2 June 2012

The blood: the ambulance team's evidence

Dr Kelly's body was discovered by "Brock" the search dog owned by Louise Holmes at about 9.15 am on Friday 18 July 2003.  DC Coe sees the body at 9.40, the same time as an ambulance is called.  The narrative states that at 10.07 the ambulance crew determine that the body is deceased.  DC Coe, in his testimony and in a newspaper article, records the fact that there was very little blood at the scene.

What then did paramedic Vanessa Hunt and ambulance technician  Dave Bartlett have to say to the Inquiry about blood at the scene?  As experienced professionals who had attended many attempted suicides by wrist slashing their evidence would surely be of great importance.  First Ms Hunt was examined by Mr Dingemans and then Mr Bartlett by Mr Knox. 

Vanessa Hunt's testimony re blood at the scene
Q. Could you see anything on the body itself? 
A. On his left arm, which was outstretched to the left of him, there was some dry blood.  
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Q. And is there anything else that you know of about the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death that you can assist his Lordship with? 
A. Only that the amount of blood that was around the scene seemed relatively minimal and there was a small patch on his right knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There was no spraying of blood or huge blood loss or any obvious loss on the clothing. 
Q. On the clothing?
A. Yes.
Q. One of the police officers or someone this morning said there appeared to be some blood on the ground. Did you see that? 
A. I could see some on -- there were some stinging nettles to the left of the body. As to on the ground, I do not remember seeing a sort of huge puddle or anything like that. There was dried blood on the left wrist. His jacket was pulled to sort of mid forearm area and from that area down towards the hand there was dried blood, but no obvious sign of a wound or anything, it was just dried blood.
Q. You did not see the wound?
A. I did not see the wound, no.
Q. You were not looking at the wound, then?
A. The hand -- from what I remember, his arm -- left arm was outstretched to the left of the body.
Q. Yes. 
A. Palm up or slightly on the side (indicates) and, as I say, there was dried blood from the edge of the jacket down towards the hand but no gaping wound or anything obvious that I could see from the position I was in. 
Q. Were you examining the wrist for --
A. No, I was not. No.
Q. And were you examining the ground for blood or blood loss? 
A. No.

Dave Bartlett's testimony re blood at the scene
Q. Did you notice any injuries? 
A. Just some dried blood across the wrist.
Q. Which wrist would that be?
A. The left wrist. 
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Q. You mentioned the injury to the wrist. You saw some blood, did you? 
A. There was dried blood across the top, yes.
Q. Was that congealed or not? 
A. I did not touch it. It was dried, it started to crack like when it goes dry. 
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Q. And were there any stains on the clothes? 
A. Not that I could see apart from on the deceased's right knee, there was a bloodstain about 25 mm across.
Q. When you say on the right knee, you mean on the trousers?
A. Yes, on the right knee of the trousers. 
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Q. Is there anything else you would like to say about the circumstances leading to Dr Kelly's death? 
A. Just the same as my colleague actually, we was surprised there was not more blood on the body if it was an arterial bleed. 

Their testimonies, given two weeks before DC Coe appeared at the Inquiry, also suggest that there was remarkably little blood at the scene.  Apart from the dried blood on the left wrist/arm they note some blood on the right knee of Dr Kelly's jeans and also on the nettles to the left of the body.  And that's it!  If they were observant enough to see the blood on the nettles and the 25 mm diameter bloodstain on the jeans then it would be truly remarkable if they had missed any other significant amounts of blood.  It must be borne in mind too that they were actually working on the body with the implication therefore of squatting close to the ground or even kneeling so would surely be aware of blood on the ground.

When Vanessa Hunt tells Mr Dingemans that there was a minimal amount of blood present he instantly realises that this isn't good news for the suicide hypothesis.  He tries to downgrade her evidence by getting her to say that she wasn't really looking at the wound or blood on the ground.  Such matters may not have been her primary focus but as a highly experienced paramedic she would be taking in peripheral information.

Dave Bartlett also comments on the lack of blood on the body.

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