Sunday, 26 August 2012

DC Coe - speaking to Ruth Absalom

In the official narrative DC Coe is called out at six in the morning.  At an unspecified time he is briefed at Abingdon Police Station and finds himself then making house to house enquiries in the area of the Kelly home.  He is accompanied by DC Shields and a probationary police constable.  Would two detective constables go to the same house?  I don't know.

Anyway DC Coe tells us that they meet Ruth Absalom who informs them that she saw Dr Kelly the previous afternoon while out walking.  The officers then go to the location where she spoke to him (the top of Harris's Lane according to her evidence) and from here they 'made a sort of search towards the river'.  One would expect a much more precise description of where they went from a very experienced detective.

Norman Baker paints on odd scenario in his book.  He had been in touch with DCI Young - promoted to Superintendent at the time when contacted by Mr Baker - and Mr Young had told him that he presumed DC Coe had received a call on his radio redirecting him towards the body.  This assumption is totally negated by what Mr Coe had to say in his 2010 interview with Matt Sandy.  It seems quite unbelievable to me that the Chief Investigating Officer wouldn't have found out the reason for DC Coe going towards Harrowdown Hill, to become the first police officer to see the body.  

This from the Mail on Sunday for 8 August 2010:

DC Coe said: 'We headed towards the river.  I just had a gut feeling that he might have gone that way.  You know ... he goes missing overnight for no reason at all.
'You think to yourself, something ain't going to be right.  You get a thought, what's the nearest thing?  The river.  We left our unmarked car in Longworth and walked up the bridle path to Harrowdown Hill'. 

No indication from this that he was aware of the body.

DC Coe didn't note in his witness statement that he had spoken to Ms Absalom.  Even if DC Shields had recorded the substance of this meeting in his own statement surely Coe would also have included it as it was to result in his further action that morning.  Coe and Shields may not have taken a formal statement from Ms Absalom at that time - it was still a missing person investigation - but I would have thought that there would need to be proper recording of this interaction with her, beyond what they might have written in their notebooks.

If Dr Kelly had been found floating in the Thames then Coe's hunch would have been vindicated.  But of course he wasn't.  Dr Kelly by the way could have walked on another 600 yards from the wood and drowned himself laying down in a deserted stretch of the river ... so much easier than the way he was alleged to have committed suicide.

Why didn't Coe tell Hutton what Ms Absalom would have said about Dr Kelly's direction of travel after they had finished their conversation.  Armed with this information surely the police wouldn't have aimed for the Thames, via the track to Harrowdown Hill.  Would they? 


  1. Draycott Moor Farm

    Had Ms Absalom told the detectives what she told the world at the Hutton Inquiry and DC Coe wanted to pursue his not unreasonable hunch that Dr Kelly had made for the river then the detectives would have gone down to the river via the farm tracks and footpaths across Draycott Moor Farm, NOT down the track past Harrowdown Wood.


    1. An excellent point, Frank. The most likely route is seen on Geograph (Grid Square SP3900) which brings one out at Newbridge - boat hire and two pubs. One wonders whether TVP made any enquiries there. Somewhere Dr Kelly could easily have had a rendezvous.