Thursday, 2 August 2012

Paul Weaving and the 17th July

The official narrative leads us to believe that the only person to see Dr Kelly after he left his home during the mid afternoon of 17th July was neighbour Ruth Absalom.  Yet the Guardian and the Scotsman editions of 19th July and the Observer on the following day state that he was also seen by Paul Weaver, a farmerIt is now generally agreed that the name given was incorrect and that the person concerned was Paul Weaving, a friend of the Kellys.  "Weaver" is a much more common surname than "Weaving" which might be a reason why the reporters got it wrong, however the fact that all three stories used the name Weaver suggests the possibility that the story originated from the same single source.

This is how each paper recorded the story as part of longer pieces:

Guardian (Steven Morris and Hugh Muir)

Paul Weaver, a farmer, may have been the last person to see him, as the scientist walked through farmland to the north of the A420, a few minutes from his home. Dr Kelly seemed happy enough and smiled at the farmer.

Dr Kelly's family was surprised when he did not return within a few hours. Though he often walked for two or three hours, he was not wont to go for long hikes alone. He had left home in just a cotton shirt and jeans. It was not cold but it was dull and rainy.

During the late afternoon and early evening Mrs Kelly began asking around the village. Mr Weaver heard that Dr Kelly had vanished and phoned a councillor, John Melling, to tell him where he had seen Dr Kelly. The pair began searching the fields, footpaths and lanes between Southmoor and the village of Longworth. They found no trace of their friend. 

The Scotsman (Karen McVeigh and Paul Gallagher)
Paul Weaver, a farmer, was possibly the last person to see the scientist alive, as he made his way alone along a country footpath at the edge of his farm. It was shortly after 3pm when the sighting was made.  
               - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
His wife, who is understood to be suffering from arthritis, waited a few more anxious hours before she called the police at about 11:45pm, and a search involving dozens of police officers and neighbours was launched.

Susan Melling, a neighbour, said the farmer, Mr Weaver, knocked on their door and her husband joined him in the search party.

"Mr Weaver called around and told us what had happened," she said. "He said that he had seen Dr Kelly on his walk on Thursday afternoon because he was near his farmland at the time.

"He was seen on the other side of the A420 road which runs just north of the village. My husband told me they would be searching all the way to the village of Longworth, which was the nearest village to where he was heading."

The Observer
Paul Weaver, a local farmer, did see him, however. He greeted Kelly as he strode through the fields north of the A420 close to his home, but there was nothing to indicate he was troubled. 'He smiled and said hello,' Weaver recalled.  

This is number 41 in the schedule of responses to issues raised on the Attorney General's website

It was reported that a Mr Paul Weaving may have been the last person to see Dr Kelly alive.  Despite this he was not called to give evidence. 
This appears to be based on a story in The Guardian published the day after the body was discovered, "Paul Weaver (sic), a farmer, may have been the last person to see him ... Dr Kelly seemed happy enough and smiled at the farmer."  The article does not source this quote but gives the impression it is Mr Weaving himself.
Mr Weaving was interviewed by police on the 20th July 2003.  He had known Dr Kelly for 20 years and did not see him that day.  He had been supervising grass cutting on Harrowdown Hill and describes one man he saw who was walking a dog.  Police Statement - "I left the Longworth area at around 7pm and returned home.  Apart from the man walking his dog as previously described, I saw nobody else whilst there."

I have been told that the grass being cut was the field to the east of the wood on Harrowdown Hill, in fact the field where the white tent was erected and various vehicles ultimately parked as seen on much of the video footage.  It's very interesting that Dr Kelly managed to walk up to the wood without Mr Weaving spotting him.

The Scotsman quoted Susan Melling directly, this makes it difficult to believe that Mr Weaving didn't see Dr Kelly earlier.  However  Norman Baker in his book records that Rowena Thursby was informed in an email from Mr Weaving: "the early reports were wrong. I did not see David on the day he went missing".(Rowena wrote one of the first blogs about the death of Dr Kelly).

It looks then as if the press got their story wrong about Mr Weaving seeing Dr Kelly on the 17th.  The alternative as I see it is that Mr Weaving was leaned on; this would be very worrying.

Looking at the evidence tab on the Hutton website and clicking on the Thames Valley Police link it can be seen that there is no witness statement from Mr Weaving.  There is this though: "Minute to Paul Wearing 19/07/03 - not for release - Police operational information.  TVP/3/0098 -0099".  Some folk think that "Wearing" here should be "Weaving".  I beg to differ, I can't imagine a minute being sent to Paul Weaving whatever "minute" might mean in this context. 

Even if Mr Weaving hadn't seen Dr Kelly that day I would have thought that the fact he was supervising grass cutting at Harrowdown Hill would have been good reason to have his written statement at the Inquiry.  However it musn't be forgotten that witnesses could demand that their statements didn't go forward to the Inquiry and perhaps Mr Weaving used this option.

It's known that some witnesses did withold their statements and this makes an absolute mockery of Hutton saying he had no problems with compellability.  I can't imagine that with an inquest a witness could be given such an escape route.   



  1. There ara a number of orthographical errors in the lists of witness statements at the Hutton Inquiry website. I see no reason why Wearing (for whatever a reason a minute might have been sent) is not Weaving. And in this case, the mis-transcription is easy to make. (cf Simon Bustany is given as Bustary on the Hutton website). It seems too much of a coincidence to me.

  2. It's possible that you are right Felix but in my opinion there is no reason to send Mr Weaving a minute. The problem is that there is no proof at all that Wearing and Weaving are one and the same and I therefore can't state that they are the same or infer this.

  3. Brian,

    Weaver is almost certainly Paul Weaving, Rowena told me ages ago that Paul Weaving had confirmed to her that he had seen DK that afternoon. However he later denied it.
    I have strong theories on the significance of what Mr Weaving did and more importantly what Mr Weaving didn't see on that fateful afternoon. I am not sure if this is the right place to publish such theories.


  4. Brian,
    The decision not to take evidence from Paul Weaving at the Hutton Inquiry has significant implications.
    Had he given evidence it could have led that inquiry to believe that Dr Kelly never went anywhere near Harrowdown wood on the afternoon of the 17th July.
    Had Mr Weaving been summoned to the inquiry, as he should have been, and asked where he was and what he saw on the afternoon of the 17th he may or may not have gone along with the press reports that you are quoting, claiming that he saw DK as he "strode through the fields north of the A420 close to his home".
    In terms of helping the inquiry establish whether or not DK did walk the footpaths all the way to Harrowdown Wood on the 17th this sighting is irrelevant, because we have another witness, Ruth Absalom who clearly did see him, and saw him after Mr Weaving is alleged to have made his sighting.
    The existence of this second witness would be a good ‘excuse’ that the police would be able to use if asked why Mr Weaving did not appear at the inquiry.
    Unfortunately the fact that Ms Absalom saw Dr Kelly walking away from the wood seems to have been overlooked!
    However, as you correctly say, what would undoubtedly have come out of Mr Weavings appearance at the inquiry, had he of appeared, is what he didn't see....namely Dr Kelly walking up the track to the wood adjacent to the field where Mr Weaving was assisting with the grass cutting. Of course what else would (or should) have come to light was the fact that the employee who Mr Weaving was assisting had actually spent all afternoon cutting the grass in the field adjacent to the wood, and he didn’t see Dr Kelly walking up the track to the wood either, and neither did the man who Mr Weaving saw walking his dog, and if the man cutting the grass and the man walking his dog had appeared at the inquiry they too should have been asked who else they saw in the area of the wood that afternoon, and yes you’ve guessed it, they wouldn’t have seen Dr Kelly either.
    Local livestock farmer Mr Roy Pointon who owns the grass fields to the south of the wood was also at work on his farm that afternoon, and he told me he saw nothing of Dr Kelly. We know there was a girl out riding a horse in the area that afternoon and we know that later on that evening there was a man watching the badgers that live in Harrowdown wood and likewise they saw nothing of Dr Kelly.
    All of a sudden a different picture emerges.
    It is not what they all saw that matters; it’s what they all didn’t see. I have it on good authority that every one of these witnesses was thoroughly questioned by Thames Valley Police and I am sure they all saw nothing and told the police just that. Individually their statements mean very little, put together they may mean a great deal.
    But they were never put together.