Friday, 1 June 2012

The blood: the evidence from the searchers

In promoting a suicide hypothesis and as part of that declaring that the primary cause of death was:

1a. Haemorrhage
1b. Incised wounds to the left wrist

it would be desirable that there be some physical evidence of the blood loss at the scene, not just some blood loss but enough to substantiate Dr Hunt's conclusion of "haemorrhage".

I have studied the transcripts of the Hutton Inquiry testimonies and subsequent media interviews relating to this aspect of Dr Kelly's death very carefully.  (This is not to say of course that I haven't paid similar attention to the other evidence).  From my investigations I can see that this key part of the evidence has caused continual problems for the authorities.  Disturbingly there appears to be more blood present on the afternoon of 18 July 2003 than when the scene is viewed by witnesses soon after 10 am that morning.

For the record though one needs to check on what the two civilian searchers had to say about the blood, they having discovered the body at about 9.15.

At the Hutton Inquiry this is the relevant exchange between counsel Mr Knox and Louise Holmes:

Q. And how close up to the body did you go?
A. Within sort of a few feet of the body.
Q. And did you notice anything about the position of the body?
A. He was at the base of the tree with almost his head and his shoulders just slumped back against the tree.
Q. And what about his legs and arms? Where were they?
A. His legs were straight in front of him. His right arm was to the side of him. His left arm had a lot of blood on it and was bent back in a funny position.
Q. Did you see any blood anywhere else?
A. Just on the left arm and the left side. 

The described position of the left arm will be discussed in a later post.

In her written statement (from Annex TVP 3) Ms Holmes said:

I saw a significant amount of blood, which was located on the left arm of this person and on his trousers.  

We know that she gave her statement on the same day as the body was found so that the description of blood on the trousers ought to be correct.  One has to be very cautious here about a lay person talking about a significant amount of blood.  What might seem to be a significant amount of blood to her might be very little when viewed by a paramedic.  The other problem is the question of how much is the interviewing officer putting words into the witnesses mouth - she might not have initially used the word "significant".  Is the reference to blood on the trousers the stain on the right knee or somewhere else?  We don't know.

The next witness at the Hutton Inquiry was Paul Chapman, the second searcher.  He was examined by Mr Dingemans:

Q. Did you see what Brock the dog had found?
A. Yes.
Q. And what was that?
A. The body of a gentleman sitting up against a tree.
Q. And can you recall what he was wearing?

A. All I could see from the distance I got was he was wearing a dark jacket and light coloured shirt.
Q. And how close did you get to the body?
A. I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it.
Q. Could you see anything at all?
A. He was sitting with his back up against a tree and there was an obvious injury to his left arm.
Q. An obvious injury to his left arm. What was that injury?
A. In as far as it was all covered in blood.   

From these testimonies it seems that the jacket sleeve was pulled at least part way up the arm to expose at a minimum part of the lower arm.  Both Louise and Paul refer to the left arm rather than the wrist

Continuing the evidence about the blood, or lack of same, the next post will look at what the ambulance crew had to say about it. 


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