Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Dr Hunt - what he did before 14.10 (2)

Dr Hunt starts his post mortem report as follows:

At approximately mid-day on 18th July 2003 (18/07/2003), at the request of Thames Valley Police, I attended the scene of a suspicious death near Longworth, Oxfordshire.

I was logged into the outer cordon of the scene at 12.00 (1200) hrs.

I approached the inner cordon via a farm track and field.  I was logged into this cordon at 12.04 (1204) hrs by PC1971 Hayes.

On arrival I was met by DI Ashleigh Smith, Acting Principal SOCO, Mark Schollar and Senior SOCO John Sharpley.

DCI Young (the Senior Investigating Officer) was logged in at the outer cordon just minutes later at 12.06.

Dr Hunt goes on to describe being given brief background information by Mr Schollar

He is then shown a "scene video" by SOCO Andrew Hodgson.  I seem to remember being critical of this in my earlier Dr Kelly blog.  This still seems to me to be very wrong.  It is essential in my opinion for the pathologist to first view the scene through his own eyes, he is the one who will write his report and make his judgements.  He is a short distance from the scene, why not just get on with the job?   Rant over.

Dr Hunt now confirms the fact of death:

Having met with the Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Young, I then proceeded to examine the body itself for the purposes of verifying the fact of his death.
The fact of death was confirmed at 12.35 hrs (1235).
There then followed a period of time during which a fingertip search was conducted of the common approach pathway and the arrival of the forensic biologist was awaited. 

Moving on to "Scene Examination" Dr Hunt writes:

At 14.10 (1410) hrs I was logged back into the inner cordon by DC928 Riley in the company of Roy Green, Eileen Hetty and John Sharpley.
By the time I returned to the immediate scene a scene tent had been erected over the deceased. 

The "Eileen Hetty" he refers to is evidently Dr Eileen Hickey, Mr Green's assistant.

Regarding the time of his being called out and his arrival at the scene Mr Green responds to Mr Dingemans as follows:

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.
Q. Around about?
A. Dinner time.
Q. What did you do as a result of that?
A. I attended Harrowdown Hill accompanied by one of my colleagues.
Q. What was the name of your colleague?
A. Dr Eileen Hickey.

One has to assume I think that the call to Mr Green was made as a result of the discussion between Hunt and Young.  Never mind public perceptions: death from incised wrist wounds is exceptionally rare and there is no evidence from Dr Hunt to say that he had come across such a case before.  I don't know whether it was he or DCI Young who suggested that a forensic expert (with a special knowledge of bloodstaining for instance) should attend.  What it did mean was a delay of about an hour and a half before the forensic examination of the body and its very immediate surroundings really began.  It would be understandable that Dr Hunt would want to await Mr Green's arrival.  I suspect that some of Dr Hunt's observations in his report had originally come from Mr Green.  

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