Saturday, 4 August 2012

Three police deliver a missing persons form

During the evening of the 17th July two of Mrs Kelly's daughters Sian and Rachel went out looking for their father.  Sian came over with her partner Richard from their home at Fordingbridge and it seems that they searched separately from Rachel.  Their journey to Southmoor would take about one and three quarter hours. The third daughter, Ellen, lived with her husband in Scotland.

This is the continuation of Mrs Kelly's evidence to Mr Dingemans from the point when Rachel returns to the house having gone on foot to see if her father was returning on his regularly used footpath:

Q. What time was this?
A. This must have been about 6.30 perhaps by now. I am not sure of the times. I was in a terrible state myself by
this time trying not to think awful things and trying to take each moment as it came.
Q. And Rachel gets back about 6.30.
A. Something like that.
Q. What does she say?
A. Then the phone rings and it is Sian, one of our other daughters. She immediately says: I am coming over. So she and her partner Richard set out by car from their home near Fordingbridge to drive the distance. They then spent the rest of the evening driving up and down lanes, looking at churches, bus shelters, and so on, looking for her father.
Q. What time did Sian and Richard arrive?
A. After 11 I believe.
Q. They had not seen Dr Kelly?
A. They had not seen him. Obviously it was very dark by then.
Q. What was decided to be done?
A. Well, we had delayed calling the police because we thought we might make matters worse if David had returned when we started to search. I felt he was already in a difficult enough situation. So we put off calling the police until about 20 to 12 at night.
Q. And who called the police?
A. I think it was Sian, I am not sure. It may have been Rachel.
Q. The police are called. Do they turn up?
A. They turn up. Three of them come with a missing persons form to fill in. I explained the situation that David had been in and it seemed immediately to go up to Chief Constable level.
Q. What time did the police arrive? The call I think you told us was about 11.
A. Yes. Within 15 minutes they were there.
Q. Three turned up?
A. Yes.

I'm not clear why Dingemans talks of the phone call being about 11, having just been told by Mrs Kelly it was at about 20 to 12.

The really surprising thing in this part of Mrs Kelly's testimony is that she states that three police turn up with a missing persons form.  One would surely be enough, two possibly but three!?  I can't claim that this is an original observation by myself ... another investigator had previously drawn attention to this oddity.  I don't know how accurate Mrs Kelly was in stating that the police arrived in 15 minutes but it's been pointed out that for this to happen it was almost as if the three police were sat in the car, missing persons form in hand, and ready for the off!

As I will explain later the evidence of police activity during the course of that night was almost entirely supplied by Mrs Kelly.  This included details about communication masts and helicopter flights.  No disrespect intended towards her but it was patently ridiculous that the Inquiry should have relied on what she said about such matters rather than the police giving evidence.  

There is plenty of reason to be suspicious of the whole Hutton process.  Of course with only Mrs Kelly giving the "technical" evidence about masts and helicopter flights for example then any further elaboration on such matters wouldn't be forthcoming.  That may have been useful from the perspective of Thames Valley Police.  However one looks at it it does demonstrate the total inadequacy of the Hutton Inquiry process.



  1. My first observation was the same as yours, Brian. Why does Dingemans guide her to say 11 when she quite clearly said 20 to 12? She did say after 11 for the arrival of Sian and Richard. Let's give Dingemans the benefit of the doubt that it was a genuine mistake. It could have been that Dingemans was having a bad day and only half listening. But if there had been an inquest no Coroner of repute would have allowed an inaccuracy like that to slip through the net. But we know that there are many such inaccuracies of that kind and much more serious which should have been attended to in this case, and were not. That is because the Hutton Inquiry was set up by Tony Blair and Lord Hutton was probably instructed by him on the verdict to bring.

  2. It gets worse John - in paragraph 128 of his report Hutton states that the family rang the police at 'about 12.20am on Friday 18 July.'

    They just didn't seem to be worried about the fine detail, as long as a narrative could be strung together to convince everyone that this was a suicide. In defence of the coroner he had said that he hadn't anticipated resuming his hearing until that September (this before Hutton hijacked the inquest). Part of the problem might have been the unseemly rush to take evidence before counsel had really absorbed the detail. However that's being generous, I think that they really weren't concerned with accuracy and there were instances I'm sure where they were desperate to avoid going into more detail!

  3. "until about 20 to 12" is a strange way to describe a time in retrospect. What would have drawn Mrs Kelly to 11.40? I would normally think in terms of quarters, halves, or hours.
    Two days later at the Hutton Inquiry:
    [Dingemans]: We have heard there was a report to the police at 11.40 on 17th July in the evening.
    [ACC Page]: That is correct.

    So, Mrs Kelly once again is providing the inquiry with police evidence.

  4. Yes Felix it's odd that Mrs Kelly was so precise in this instance when she is very vague about other timings. The police in fact would have logged the call from Mrs Kelly's daughter so their information should be accurate.

    There was similar precision from Mrs Kelly (to be blogged about later)when she says she was out on her lawn in her dressing gown at twenty to five in the morning. Again the timing of the start of the thorough search of the house would I suggest be something recorded by TVP.

    I think it's quite possible that when she made her witness statements Mrs Kelly would have asked TVP about the times ... I don't think that under the emotional circumstances at the time she would have been mentally noting timings, certainly not to that degree of accuracy.