Thursday, 27 September 2012

Richard Shepherd, DC Coe and DC Shields

The Hutton Inquiry quite amply demonstrated a cover up in respect of the death of Dr David Kelly.  Before making his announcement about not going to the High Court to seek an inquest the Attorney General Dominic Grieve added to the cover up by obtaining and preparing a lot more information.  One decision made in the autumn of 2010 was to gain the involvement of forensic pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd.  In the introduction of his Forensic Medical Report of 16 March 2011 Shepherd says:

I have been asked by the office of the Attorney General to comment on the pathological aspects of the death of Dr David Kelly on 17th July 2003

In passing I'll just note that he says that Dr Kelly died on 17th July 2003 whereas he later concludes that the death could have been on either 17 July or 18 July.  This is just one example of his sloppiness in delivering a very poor report.

Here is a reminder of a couple of paragraphs written by Kevin McGinty from the Attorney General's Office in Annex TVP-1:

As the officers went towards the river they came across the two civilian searchers (Paul Chapman & Louise Holmes) who had found the body and radioed for help.  This was a chance occurrence.  At this time they were at the foot of Harrowdown Hill, a considerable distance from the body location.  

Dc Coe went with Paul Chapman leaving Dc Shields and Pc A and Louise Holmes behind.  Dc Shields and Pc A did not go to the scene at all and did not see the body.

Pc A was the third member of DC Coe's party ... the person TVP have refused to identify.

As described in previous postings Mr McGinty went to some trouble in trying to convince everyone that DC Shields and PC A didn't go anywhere near the body.  By bringing in  outside "experts" like Dr Shepherd there was always the chance that something might be said that knocks out a pillar from McGinty's carefully constructed edifice. And so it happened in this instance.  Under "Scene Examination" and sub-section c) Position of the body in Shepherd's report
we read:

The police officers (DCs Coe and Shields) who initially attended the scene commented that the body was "laying on his back", they did not describe sitting or slumping against a tree.

That's the trouble when you go over the top with a cover up, it's all to easy to let errors creep in.

For the sake of completeness I should add number 42 in the "Schedule of responses to issues raised" on the Attorney General's website:
Issue.  Hutton failed to call DC Shields - one of two detectives who attended Dr Kelly's body.
Response.  DC Shields did not attend Dr Kelly's body and had no relevant information to assist the Inquiry.

Appendix A to Dr Shepherd's report is a list of "Reports, Statements, etc" that had been sent to him.  There is no witness statement from DC Shields but the "Thames Valley Police Report" by DCI Alan Young could be the source of Dr Shepherd's reference to both Coe and Shields attending the body.

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