Saturday, 18 August 2012

Louise Holmes - thoughts about her evidence

Having reproduced the extensive evidence of searcher Louise Holmes I'll jot down some thoughts:
  • Ms Holmes comes over as a straightforward person.  It's difficult to see any motivation to be dishonest in her evidence.
  • Unlike some witnesses she made her police witness statement on the very day of the event.  There should therefore have been no problem with accurate recall.
  • Her partial witness statement and Hutton Inquiry testimony are a good match.
  • The revealed part of her witness statement was thorough with a logical flow.  She appeared to be keen to ensure nothing was left out even mentioning that Brock could have nudged the body before she saw it and providing locations on a map.
  • At one point at the Inquiry it looked as if she wasn't going to mention going beyond Harrowdown Hill to the Thames.  It seems that Mr Knox was aware she had described doing this in her witness statement because he gently draws her back to it.  Hutton fails to ask ACC Page whether TVP had investigated the "boat people" on the Thames.
  • She gets to within 4 feet of the body.  If her evidence about the head and shoulders being against the tree was incorrect then she would either have been dishonest or she would have failed to distinguish from 4 feet whether or not the head and shoulders were against the tree.  These scenarios aren't credible.
  • In Annex TVP 3 she mentions a significant amount of blood which is interesting when compared with the small amount of blood seen by DC Coe and the ambulance crew.  I have previously discussed the reports of the blood at some length and my belief is that her, probably inexperienced, view of blood quantities gave the impression of a lot of blood.  Coe possibly and certainly the ambulance crew would have been familiar with what a lot of blood really looked like.  
  • This is a small discrepancy in description but doesn't worry me too much: in her witness statement she refers to the significant amount of blood on the left arm and on the trousers.  At the Inquiry the blood is 'just on the left arm and the left side'.  My initial interpretation of blood on the trousers is the stain others reported on the right knee.  However Mr Green in his report mentions the mysterious diluted stain on the left knee.  Did she see this, maybe before the blood was diluted, as well as the blood on the right knee?
  • I don't think that she could be clearer in both her written statement and her testimony at the Inquiry that the 3 police officers went with Paul to see the body.  This to be further discussed later.
  • Her description of the positions of each arm is so different from that of the ambulance crew that I am in no doubt that not only was the body repositioned but both left and right arm positions were altered too.  This will be explored in some depth in due course.
  • Bearing in mind just how thorough she was in her evidence and that she got within 4 feet of the body it is very surprising that she makes no mention of any of the objects that were later described as being very close to the left side of the body.

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