Friday, 24 August 2012

DC Coe - more on his visit to the Kelly home

My last post about DC Coe attending an attachment at the Kelly home on the 19th was very brief.  Essentially Mr Knox asked Coe one question about it and the latter gave the shortest response possible.  It might be thought that no more detail was available on this particular aspect of the police investigation but thanks to Mr Coe himself we now know a lot more .....

The Mail on Sunday of 8 August 2010 ran an extremely interesting article by Matt Sandy based on an interview of Mr Coe who had by that time retired.  Primarily it was seen as an admittance by Coe of there being a third man with him when he was met by the volunteer searchers and this is something I will look at in depth later.  Fortunately there was a lot more in the article than Coe's forgetfullness about the "third man" - it's his additional revelations about his visit to the Kelly home and his subsequent actions that is the focus of this post.

To see the Matt Sandy article in its entirety click here 

This is from Mr Sandy's article:

The next day, he was ordered to go to Dr Kelly’s home to act as an ‘exhibits officer’ in a thorough search. Intriguingly, he believes the brief was to look for any papers that ‘could be of a sensitive nature’ about Iraq or other national security concerns, not for anything that might
relate directly to his death.

He said: ‘We were looking for documents relating to Iraq. No one knew whether he kept any papers of a sensitive nature at home. We had to search. If someone writes a suicide note, you’ll find it. We were looking for politically sensitive documents.’

The search team took ‘several boxes’ of files back to the police station, where DC Coe spent three days examining them with an officer from Thames Valley Special Branch. He said the documents were about ‘all sorts of things’ but will not disclose if anything sensitive was found. He also said there were drawings but, asked if they were technical drawings, said only
they ‘weren’t artistic’.

His involvement was touched on only briefly at the Hutton Inquiry. He said he went to the house to act as an exhibits officer but was asked for no further details. The inquiry
was apparently satisfied with the evidence of Assistant Chief Constable Michael Page and PC Sawyer, who said the house was searched and unspecified ‘documents’ were taken away.

A contradiction here: at the Inquiry DC Coe said he oversaw an exhibits officer whereas he is telling Matt Sandy that he himself was the "exhibits officer".  With that untruth it's perhaps not unsurprising for him to have said to Mr Knox 'I made no search whatsoever'.

At the Inquiry ACC Page, responding to Mr Dingemans, said:

A. The house was subject to a full search by search trained officers and by members of Thames Valley Special Branch. Their presence I felt necessary again because of Dr Kelly's background. Should we come across any documents of a secret nature, those officers are cleared to handle those documents. That is why they were there.
Q. You are not cleared to handle those sort of documents?
A. Not at present, I have been in the past.

It looks then as if DC Coe had a higher security clearance than ACC Page at that time! 

Detailed and honest evidence of DC Coe's responsibilities and actions as outlined in the press article should have been revealed at the Inquiry.  They weren't.

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