Sunday, 19 August 2012

Paul Chapman - body found

In my last post I described the search phase from Mr Chapman's perspective culminating in Brock making a findPaul Chapman's testimony continues:

Q. Where were you? Were you on the outside of the wood?
A. I was in the wood about five metres behind Louise.
Q. What happened to the dog?
A. The dog was ahead, I could hardly see the dog at that point. I was just following up the hill and Louise then said -- indicated -- said he had found something and she
went forward to investigate, whereas I waited there.
Q. So you did not move at this stage?
A. No, I waited there, as we are trained to do in case it is a scenes of crime or anything, so we do not contaminate it.
Q. To avoid trampling down?
A. Yes, in case there is evidence or anything like that.
Q. Louise went up and looked. She came back?
A. She came back towards me.
Q. What did she say?
A. Yes, she told me we had found the missing person and at that point I tried to contact our Control to let them know.
Q. Did you get through to Control?
A. We did not on the mobiles, no, because the mobiles were all to answerphone.
Q. So how did you contact anyone?
A. I then rang 999 and asked to be put through to Abingdon police station. They could not transfer me so I asked them to get someone at Abingdon police station to call me urgently.
Q. On your mobile?
A. On my mobile, yes.
Q. Did they call back?
A. They called back within a couple of minutes, yes.

The one time fix we have here is of the 999 call.  A Freedom of Information request confirms that particular time to be 09.20.  In round terms then Brock discovered the body at 09.15.

Q. Do you remember who you spoke to?
A. I do not. He just said it was a sergeant at Abingdon police station.
Q. What did you report to him?
A. I reported who I was, a member of the search team, and we had found the missing person, could they please then speak to the search manager and the search police officers there and get them to give me a ring.
Q. Did they?
A. Yes, they did. They called me back straight after that.
Q. What arrangements did you make?
A. At that point we were walking back down the path towards the car and they said: keep going there and we will send some police officers out to meet you there, back at your car, Louise's car.
Q. Were you standing still in the wood all this time?
A. Initially, yes, but then we began walking out of the wood back to the path because we realised that we would have to go and meet the officers, and it was about a 10 minute walk back to the car down the path so we thought it is easiest to get going.
Q. Did you see what Brock the dog had found?
A. Yes.
Q. And what was that?
A. The body of a gentleman sitting up against a tree.

It seems that Mr Chapman had relied on the visual assessment of Ms Holmes that the body was dead.  He would be the one to take responsibility on this and it suggests that he was confident in the conclusion reached by Ms Holmes without himself going closer.

Q. And can you recall what he was wearing?
A. All I could see from the distance I got was he was wearing a dark jacket and light coloured shirt.
Q. And how close did you get to the body?
A. I probably reached about 15 to 20 metres from it.
Q. Could you see anything at all?
A. He was sitting with his back up against a tree and there was an obvious injury to his left arm.
Q. An obvious injury to his left arm. What was that injury?
A. In as far as it was all covered in blood.

The fact that he could see, from a distance of 15 to 20 metres, blood covering the left arm and at the same time noting that there is a jacket on the body suggests to me that the left sleeve was pulled up at that time.


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