Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The evidence of Ruth Absalom (2)

There is considerable doubt about the timings of some of the events on 17 July but one good "fix" is a telephone call taken by Dr Kelly in the mid afternoon.  This is number 53 in the schedule of responses to issues raised http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/Publications/Documents/Schedule%20of%20responses%20to%20issues%20raised.pdf

Mrs Kelly mentions that Dr Kelly took a telephone call shortly before leaving.  She assumed it was the MOD.  This was not investigated.
The matter was investigated.  Dr Kelly took a call from the MOD at 14.52. 

When Wing Commander John Clark made his first visit to the Inquiry on 27 August there was this exchange with Mr Knox:

Q. At what time did you attempt to ring Dr Kelly?  
A. It was -- I have since been told by the police -- I thought it was close to 3 o'clock but it was about 3.20, and I was told by his wife who answered the telephone that Dr Kelly had gone for a walk at 3 o'clock.  
Q. Can you recall what the last telephone conversation you actually had with Dr Kelly was before that attempt to get hold of him? 
A. Yes, I had a call with him which was just before 3 o'clock. Again I thought it was earlier but we have been able to track that down from investigating my log of e-mails and the telephone log that the police were able to provide. So about 6 or 7 minutes before 3 o'clock was the last conversation. That was the one where we discussed Susan Watts and the business cards.
Q. When you say Susan Watts, i.e. appearing in the body of the text?  

A. Absolutely right. So that had been agreed. 

The timing of this phone call creates a problem with Ms Absalom's evidence ... at least with the timings here:

Q. On 17th July, what time did you walk your dog?
A. Well, I usually go about 3 but I went earlier that day, I suppose about quarter past 2.
Q. Quarter past 2?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you see anyone while you were walking the dog? 

A. Not until I met Dr Kelly.
Q. And when did you meet Dr Kelly? What time was that?
A. Round about 3 o'clock. I could not tell you for sure, I did not bother to look at my watch but I was taking the dog for a walk and --
Q. Where did you meet him?
A. The top of Harris's Lane, which is in Longworth, the next village. It is about -- roughly about a mile from
my home.
Q. How far from his home is that?
A. Well, he is only a matter of yards across the road from me.
Q. So about just under a mile from his home; is that right?
A. Yes.

If Ms Absalom habitually took her dog for a walk at 3 o'clock then the fact that on one day she left about 45 minutes early would perhaps be something that stuck in her mind.  My best guess is that she did go at about 2.15 one day, but not on the 17th.  Her two page witness statement (date not revealed) might give different timings.  I don't think that Hutton would be concerned if that was the case, from his perspective I imagine his primary concern was validation of the fact that Dr Kelly was seen at a point between his home and Harrowdown Hill during that afternoon.

In reviewing the times given by Ms Absalom I would suggest that Dr Kelly was 15 - 20 minutes from his home by the shortest route when he met her at the top of Harris's Lane.   

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