Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Mr Green's absorbent leaf litter

As discussed in recent posts the ambulance team of Vanessa Hunt and Dave Bartlett and the first police officer on the scene DC Graham Coe all make the point that they saw virtually no blood either on the clothing or in the immediate vicinity of the body.  Hunt and Bartlett had been to dozens of attempted suicides by wrist slashing and were well familiar with seeing substantial amounts of blood at such scenes.  They were so concerned about the official description of the primary cause of death (haemorrhage) that, with the permission of their employers, they went public to voice their feelings.

By the time that Dr Hunt and Mr Green start their detailed examination of the body and its environs there is evidence of MORE blood being presentNot enough though to account for all the blood that was needed to substantiate a conclusion of death by exsanguination.

When Mr Green came to the Inquiry "at short notice", the day after the ambulance team had given their testimonies, he came up with a novel explanation as to where the "missing" blood had gone.  This is how he responded to questioning from Mr Dingemans:

Q. We have heard from some ambulance personnel, and they said they were not specifically looking, for obvious reasons, at the distribution of blood but they noted, just on their brief glance, not very much blood. What were your detailed findings?
A. Well, there was a fair bit of blood.
LORD HUTTON: There was -- I beg your pardon?
A. A fair bit of blood, my Lord. The body was on leaf litter, the sort of detritus you might find on the floor of a wood, which is -- and that is very absorbent, so although it may not have appeared to them there was that much blood, it would obviously soak in.
MR DINGEMANS: A bit like blotting paper in some respects?
A. Yes.

When Hutton said 'I beg your pardon' I do wonder if he said it just to ensure that Mr Green repeated what he stated so that everyone got the message.

From the photographs I've been shown of the wood in high summer it's obvious that there is very little leaf litter covering the ground.  Mr Green's statement about the blood soaking into the leaf litter at the scene is 100% speculative ... he doesn't provide a shred of evidence in substantiation.  He didn't say "I examined the leaf litter and noted the presence of blood" or words to that effect.  In any case I don't believe for a moment that in less than 24 hours in a woodland setting that the blood would be absorbed by the leaves.  Certainly it didn't happen with the "arterial rain" on the nearby nettles (more about arterial rain - real or simulated - later). 

After the body had been removed a fingertip search was carried out of that particular area with nothing reported as being found.  The officers concerned would be literally on their hands and knees and handling the leaves.

Mr Green makes himself look even more stupid because he wrote this in his report:

Bloodstaining was evident on the waxed jacket (NCH.17), which was unfastened and tucked up under him so that the centre front was under the injured wrist.

If Dr Kelly died in that position as Mr Green believes to be the case then the wrist wasn't even in contact with the ground.  Of course it wasn't the original intention for Mr Green's report to ever get into the public domain.  Mr Green is the only witness who records the fact that the injured wrist was on the centre front of the jacket.  He offers no explanation as to why that might be.  In a later post I will help him out on this putting forward a possible reason.

In his statement  Mr Green repeats his assertion about the leaf litter as a stand alone sentence;

The leaf litter nature of the ground meant that it would have been very absorbent to blood.

I've no doubt that he couldn't go any further in linking it to the evidence because a police witness statement saying something that isn't true could lead to prosecution.

In his closing statement on 25 September Mr Dingemans included this:

There was a wound on his left wrist and an artery had been severed. Dr Kelly was declared dead at the scene. Notwithstanding the cut to the wrist, the ambulance personnel when they came to give evidence reported not seeing much blood, though they accepted they were not looking in detail.
The forensic biologist has assisted in this respect.  He identified the blood, the stains on the clothing and the blood on the leaves, which had acted in part as blotting paper.

Dingemans misled the Inquiry by accepting what Mr Green said as fact.  There was no evidence given of 'blood on the leaves', apart from the bit on the nettles, just speculative comment.

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