Sunday, 9 September 2012

PC Franklin - paramedics at the scene

Continuing PC Franklin's examination by Mr Dingemans:

Q. And did you form any opinion about whether or not there was a sign of life?
A. We had two paramedics who were following closely behind us, but my initial thought was the body we had found was
that of a dead man.
Q. Did you recognise the body?
A. I believed it was Dr David Kelly.
Q. From the descriptions?
A. From the descriptions and the photograph we had.
Q. Having located the body, what did you do as a result of that?
A. The paramedics came to the scene to pronounce life extinct, which they did.
Q. Did you see them do that?
A. Yes, we did.

Q. When you first saw the body, were there any pads on the chest?
A. No, the shirt was done up when we got there. My colleague -- if I may explain. We take photographs of these sort of scenes all the time as a matter of course because we knew the paramedics would be disturbing the clothing and possibly disturbing the scene.
Q. You took the photographs?
A. PC Sawyer.
Q. Before the body was disturbed?
A. Yes.
Q. That showed the shirt buttoned up?
A. Yes.
Q. Copies of those photographs have been supplied to the Inquiry?
A. I believe PC Sawyer supplied them, yes.
Q. For fairly obvious reasons those are not being published.
A. Absolutely, yes.

Q. They show the shirt buttoned up, do they?
A. The shirt was buttoned up. I believe PC Sawyer took photographs during and after the procedure the paramedics go through.
Q. What did you see the paramedics do?
A. The shirt was unbuttoned, they placed four sticky pads, I believe it is four, on to the body, the chest, and attached it to a medical machine -- sorry, I have no idea what it is. And they pronounced life extinct at 10.07 hours that morning.

A slightly odd answer from Franklin when he says 'I believe PC Sawyer supplied them' in relation to the photographs being sent to the Inquiry.  I would have thought that Sawyer would have handed them in to his superiors very quickly and would have had no further control of them.  More thoughts to come on this.

The only two people at the Inquiry who gave evidence that life was declared extinct at 10.07 were PC Franklin and DC Coe.  This merits consideration later.

LORD HUTTON: May I just ask you: how long were you at the scene before the paramedics arrived?
A. Less than two minutes.
LORD HUTTON: Less than two minutes. I see. Thank you.
MR DINGEMANS: After the paramedics have declared formally life extinct, where did they go?
A. We all left the scene. We left the wooded area to a natural break in the woods, a path which is where PC Sawyer and I went. I believe the two paramedics left the scene all together. I am not 100 per cent sure of
at because PC Sawyer and I went back in.
Q. You went back in?
A. To establish what we call a common approach path and to mark it off where the area we had walked in.
Q. What is a common approach path?
A. A common approach path would be, in this instance, a taped area. We taped it off either side so any person visiting the scene, the only place they would walk would be up the common approach path.
Q. Why do you do that?
A. Sterility of the scene and to preserve any evidence that may be either side.
Q. And having set out this common approach path, what did you do?
A. The common approach path was established and we then taped off the area around the body, again for the same reasons. We then left the scene and went back down to collect our vehicle -- we had walked about three quarters of a mile up to the scene -- to take our vehicle back up to await senior CID officers and scenes of crime.
Q. So you drive your vehicle back up?
A. Yes.

I have some concerns about PC Franklin's description of events immediately after life had been confirmed extinct but it will be necessary to look at other witness testimony first.

It appears to me that the vehicle was driven up the track before an examination of the track surface for footprints/tyre marks had been made.  A Freedom of Information request enquired about this and I will make the request and response the subject of a separate post. 

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