Friday, 1 June 2012

The blood: DC Coe's evidence

At the end of my last post I had said that the next one would relate what the ambulance crew said about the blood at the scene.  However to try and keep some degree of correct chronological sequence I want to discuss what DC Coe had to say on this subject instead.

Going to the Hutton Inquiry and DC Coe's testimony given to Peter Knox here are the exchanges:

Q. Did you notice anything about the body? 
A. I did.
Q. What did you notice?
A. I noticed that there was blood round the left wrist.  I saw a knife, like a pruning knife, and a watch.  

            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Q. Did you notice if there were any stains on the clothes? 
A. I saw blood around the left wrist area.  

In that second exchange it can be seen that DC Coe really doesn't want to get involved with bloodstains on the clothes   If he was aware of blood being added to the scene then his reluctance is understandable, moreover Thames Valley Police mightn't be keen for him to talk about the blood either.

Annex TVP 1 from the Attorney General's website has this as part of Coe's witness statement:

At 0940 am on Friday 18th July 2003 together with a Mr. Paul Chapman a volunteer search person, I went to Harrow Down Hill, Longworth where a Mr. Chapman took me into a wooded area for about approximately 75 yards where I was shown the body of a male person who was lying on his back.  I could see that his left wrist had blood on it.  Close to the wrist was a small knife similar to a pruning knife together with a wrist watch.

There was a small bottle with a label Evian thereon.  The male was wearing striped shirt blue jeans that had a stain on the right knee Barbour type jacket.  There was also a peaked cap close to this male person.

At 1007 am ambulance crew attended the scene where death was pronounced. 

It's interesting to note the sentence immediately preceding this quoted part of the statement in TVP 1: 

Dc Coe's  Police statement is very short, not particularly descriptive but factually correct.  The TVP Annexes were penned by Mr McGinty at the Attorney General's Office but he assures us about the factual correctness so that is all right.

Although DC Coe doesn't mention blood being seen elsewhere it seems to me that we should assume that the only meaningful amount of blood at the scene is as he says in his evidence.

In his interview for the Matt Sandy article in the Mail on Sunday of 8 August 2010 Mr Coe feels able to firm up his observation about the lack of blood at the scene:

DC Coe is clear on the amount of blood he saw.  He said: 'I certainly didn't see a lot of blood anywhere.  There was some on his left wrist but it wasn't on his clothes.  On the ground, there wasn't much blood about, if any.

'I didn't see any bloodstains on the bottle and I didn't check the knife.'  

So the only difference I think with the press interview is that he is being more explicit.

He didn't see any bloodstains on the bottle although he had noted the Evian label.  He didn't check the knife which according to Mr Green was heavily stained with blood but did notice that (part of) the watch was on top of the knife.  Mr Coe's memory appears to be very selective!

As we shall see DC Coe's description of the paucity of blood at the scene is matched by the two members of the ambulance team but is at odds with the evidence from Dr Hunt and Mr Green.  

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