Sunday, 9 September 2012

PC Franklin - footprints and vehicle tracks

In my last post PC Franklin had mentiond at the Inquiry that his vehicle (a land rover) was driven up the track after the paramedics had been to the scene to confirm the fact of death.  The track didn't have a metalled surface.  Another Kelly investigator expressed concern that this early movement of the vehicle up an unmade track would likely have obliterated other vehicle tracks, if they existed, and possibly footprints.

A Freedom of Information request to Thames Valley Police was made:

This request, reference RFI2011000731, was received on Tuesday 26 October 2010, 11:45am.
1) What steps the Police took to identify and secure forensic evidence of footprints on the Common Access Path prior to the Pathologist seeing Dr. David Kelly's body on 18th July 2003?   2) What steps the Police took to look for and secure forensic evidence of vehicle tracks on the bridleway close to the scene where Dr. David Kelly's body was found, prior to any Police vehicles accessing the track?
1) The common approach path was searched as were other routes to the scene.  Footprints on the bridleway were photographed and casts were made of their impressions.
2) The bridleway was checked by the Senior Scenes of Crime Officer and a Detective Inspector.

It appears from the response given that the only footprints found were on the bridleway ie the track leading up to the hill from the original parking area.  Photograph links in this post give an idea of the nature of the track in summer

As happened with the lack of fingerprint evidence at the scene (or rather the fact that there was no evidence given on the subject) we similarly have a situation where TVP failed to give any evidence about footprints discovered on the track and who they could have belonged to.  The police didn't volunteer the information and Hutton didn't ask.  Were any of the footprints identified as matching Dr Kelly's footwear?  We're not told.  Why not?  Were all the casts made later identified as footprints that could have come from those known to have walked the track?  Again we aren't informed.

It can be seen that the response failed to answer question 2 directly.  The Senior Scenes of Crime Officer and Detective Inspector appear to be John Sharpley and DCI Smith respectively.  Reading PC Franklin's evidence at the Inquiry confirms that the vehicle was driven up before the arrival of Sharpley and Smith.  Thus the tyre marks of the Franklin/Sawyer land rover might well have obliterated important forensic evidence on the track.

Neither the investigation nor the presentation at the Inquiry of the evidence was carried out to a sufficiently high standard.  

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