Sunday, 10 June 2012

The blood: the evidence on the ground

This post looks at the reported evidence of blood on the ground and on the vegetation at Harrowdown Hill.

My last posts considered the blood on the nearby nettles and whether the "arterial rain" was real or simulated.  Both Vanessa Hunt and Mr Green report the presence of blood here.

I had also considered the possible blood absorbed by the leaves on the woodland floor.  Mr Green presents no evidence whatsoever that any blood was so absorbed.  He fails to explain how the blood was perfectly visible on the nettle leaves but seemingly invisible on the leaves on the ground.

When interviewed by Matt Sandy for the Mail on Sunday DC Coe said 'On the ground, there wasn't much blood about, if any'.  Dave Bartlett, interviewed some weeks later, said to Mr Sandy: 'There was a bit [of blood] on the nettles and grass but not a lot at all'.

Dr Hunt attended the Hutton Inquiry on 16 September.  This is what he had to say to Mr Knox about the blood he observed on the ground:

Q. Was there any blood beneath the knife? 
A. Yes, there was. There was blood around the area of the knife. 
Q. How close to the knife was the blood?
A. It was around the knife and underneath it.  
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Q. Was there any other bloodstaining that you noticed in the area? 
A. There was. There was an area of bloodstaining to his left side running across the undergrowth and the soil,  and I estimated it was over an area of 2 to 3 feet in maximum length. 

In his published report of 25 July 2003 Dr Hunt supplies a little more detail:

Lying adjacent to this [the wristwatch] was a white metal 'Sandvik' pruning-type knife, or gardener's knife, with its blade extended from the handle.  There was bloodstaining over both the handles and the blade and a pool of blood beneath the knife which was approximately 8-10 by approximately 4-5 cms.
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There was bloodstaining and a pool of blood in an area running from the left arm of the deceased for a total distance of in the order of 2'-3'.  There was also a patch of possible bloodstaining on the ground near the left hip region.

Mr Green is oddly reticent about the bloodstaining and pools of blood in his report.  This is the nearest we get to the blood pooling:

Blood had spurted out from his injured left wrist to the left of the body, to a distance of approximately 78 cm.  The staining was typical of arterial bloodstaining with pooling closer to the injured limb.
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Blood swab:  As I have stated on page 6 of this statement, item AMH.29 was a swab of a pool of blood to the left of the deceased.  STR profiling of the blood on the swab gave a full profile matching that of David Kelly.

When Mr Green came to the Inquiry "at short notice" he was focused on the arterial rain on the nettles and on the "invisible" blood absorbed by the leaf litter.

Had he and Dr Hunt come to an agreement "I'll deal with the arterial rain whilst you can look after the bloodstaining and pooling on the ground".  No doubt Dr Hunt would have furnished Mr Green with a copy of his report.  Did Mr Green then think "he's dealt with the bloodstaining on the ground, no need for me to repeat that observation in my report".  If so that is totally unsatisfactory - Mr Green is the blood distribution expert and his report should be comprehensive on this subject and should be a stand alone document.

As mentioned in previous posts the evidence is of the  left arm being moved after the ambulance team leave the scene, or at least the lower arm is moved.  The knife and watch are correspondingly relocated and a pool of blood created under the knife.

Two other points need mentioning.  Dr Hunt doesn't mention the width of the 2' to 3' long bloodstain.  Substantially less than 2' surely or he would have mentioned it I think.  It might have just been a dribble of blood of no significant width.  Secondly, in his report Dr Hunt talks of the 2'-3' bloodstaining and pool of blood.  The pool of blood part of this can't have been too noticeable because, at the Inquiry, it's only the bloodstaining mentioned by him in this context.

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