Sunday, 5 June 2011

Seventh submission (of 12) by me to the Attorney General Dominic Grieve

From: STEPHEN FROST <stephen.frost@>
To: privateoffice@attorneygeneral, Kevin.McGinty@attorneygeneral
Cc: grieved@parliament, jonesdi@parliament, fswaine@leighday, "Michael Powers Q.C." <powers@>, "david halpin" <dsh@>, chris.burns-cox@, monafay@, "Stephen Frost" <stephen.frost@>, mvarney@leighday, fmackenzie@leighday
Date: Tuesday, 22 February, 2011, 0:58

Mr Duncan Parish and Mr Kevin McGinty,
Please confirm receipt of this email and please confirm that its contents will be brought to the attention of the Attorney General.  Thank you.
Kind regards,
Stephen Frost
Dear Attorney General,
I wish to draw to your attention the following four points in connection with the death of Dr David Kelly in July 2003:
1. Mr Nigel Cox, as well as being a longstanding friend of Dr Kelly's who was not called to give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry should have been a witness for the additional reason that he contacted Thames Valley Police within a week of Dr Kelly's body being found in order to alert them to an answerphone message he had received from Dr Kelly which was left for him on his home telephone number during the week of Dr Kelly's death.
In the message, Dr Kelly said that he was looking forward to playing cards with Mr Cox and some other friends on 23 July 2003. Having listened to the message, Mr Cox decided this was important evidence concerning Dr Kelly's state of mind. Although a Thames Valley Police officer spoke to Mr Cox by telephone about the message, and expressed interest in hearing it, no officer ever came to collect it from Mr Cox despite having his agreement that he would be happy to give them the message. It is my contention that this unique record of Dr Kelly's voice discussing future social arrangements would have been considered with great interest by any expert (in this case Professor Keith Hawton) called on to pronounce on the likelihood of his having intended to kill himself. It represents an insufficiency of inquiry and a rejection of evidence that Thames Valley Police failed to collect material evidence offered to them. I believe that the message still exists and I believe that it ought to be collected from Mr Cox and considered in the proper fashion, as it would have been had there been a coroner's inquest.

2. In relation to Dr Malcolm Warner, Dr Kelly's GP, I understand that a former Member of Parliament, Robert Jackson, who represented Dr Kelly's Oxfordshire constituency between 1983 and 2005, was given key information about an event immediately following Dr Kelly's death by Dr Warner. The information, the ultimate source of which is Mr Jackson, suggests that Dr Warner was asked (possibly by Thames Valley Police, though I cannot be certain of this) to view Dr Kelly's corpse on the day it was found. I understand that Dr Warner told Mr Jackson about this supposed viewing at a private meeting attended by these two alone held at Dr Warner's surgery some weeks after Dr Kelly's death.
However, Dr Warner did not include it in the oral evidence which he gave to the Hutton Inquiry in 2003. Having read Dr Warner's oral evidence it is possible to see that he was asked to state the time at which he last saw Dr Kelly. Dr Warner answered: '1999'. If Mr Jackson's recollection is accurate, this was an ambiguous and potentially misleading answer on Dr Warner's part. It is conceivable that Dr Warner included his viewing of Dr Kelly's body (if indeed it ever took place) in the written evidence he supplied to the Hutton Inquiry but I feel it is vital that this point is examined and clarified.
No witness speaking under oath at a coroner's inquest would risk being anything other than candid about a matter such as this. Neither would they be expected to 'split' their evidence, giving some of it in written form and some of it orally.
Furthermore, the name 'Dr M D Warner' was found written in a notebook belonging to Dr Kelly which was submitted as evidence to the Hutton Inquiry. Further information relating to the Dr M D Warner in question has been redacted with black marker pen making it impossible to know in what context this note was written in the notebook. However, I have established that Dr Warner's initials are 'M' (for Malcolm) and 'D' (for David) and I believe it is his name in Dr Kelly's notebook. Dr Warner was never asked why his name appeared when he gave evidence to the inquiry, yet this would have been important ground to cover in the light of the fact that Dr Warner stated that he had not seen Dr Kelly since 1999 (see evidence TVP/3/0126 on the Hutton Inquiry website). I would urge you to investigate this.

3. No fingerprints were found on two of the blister packs which had allegedly contained Co-Proxamol, a bottle of mineral water Dr Kelly is alleged to have drunk from which was beside his corpse, Dr Kelly's mobile phone, the knife Dr Kelly allegedly used to cut his wrist and a watch which was on the ground beside Dr Kelly's body.
None of this information about the lack of fingerprints was made public at the Hutton Inquiry. Instead, it has fallen to members of the public to extract it from Thames Valley Police using the Freedom of Information Act. I have also established that the police carried out the fingerprint tests in-house and claim to have retained all the exhibits. 
I understand that DNA tests were carried out on a third packet of Co-Proxamol tablets found with Dr Kelly's body and on the watch found beside his body. A match - as yet unspecified - was made with Dr Kelly's DNA profile as a result of these tests on both items. 
However, once again, Thames Valley Police cannot be said to have conducted a full inquiry into Dr Kelly's death because the force admitted in one of their FoIA responses that they did not ever establish to whom the watch found beside Dr Kelly's body belonged. To put this in context, having not found any fingerprints on the watch, the police decided that it should be subjected to a DNA test. After carrying out that test and having obtained what they deemed to be a positive result (though it remains unclear by what means a match was made - was it by using hair, skin or blood?) they did not bother to check who owned the watch. So, on the one hand, the watch was thought important enough as a piece of evidence to be subjected to a DNA test; but on the other it was considered so irrelevant a piece of evidence that its ownership was never established. To this day the police admit they have no idea who owns the watch.
4. On 16 August 2010 vascular surgeon Michael Gaunt gave an interview to the Radio 4 news programme PM in which he said:
'I was asked by a national newspaper to review the transcripts of the Hutton Inquiry and the post mortem report to see whether these stories [about David Kelly's death] had any credence. Having reviewed all those papers I came to the conclusion I was quite happy with the [suicide] verdict that Lord Hutton had reached.'Mr Gaunt did not name the newspaper which commissioned him and did not explain how it had obtained the post mortem report in the first place. But his claim triggers vital questions about the security of key evidence relating to Dr Kelly's death because at the time of the interview the post mortem report was still under a 70-year classification order, as recommended by Lord Hutton in 2004.
During the 5-minute interview with the PM programme's presenter, Eddie Mair, Mr Gaunt said: 'I think like most vascular surgeons or, indeed, doctors, to hear that someone had bled to death from the ulnar artery in the wrist, which is the smallest artery in the wrist, my first reaction was that that would be very difficult to do. However, when you read the transcript and the whole circumstances surrounding the sad death of Dr Kelly, you come to the view that it was reasonable because of the other factors involved....It's obvious that both the police when the body was discovered, and also the Home Office pathologist who performed the post mortem, strongly considered the possibility of second-person or third-person involvement in the death and looked for evidence that this might be the case. A thorough post-mortem was performed. The pathologist performed a thorough subcutaneous dissection looking for any evidence of subcutaneous bruising or haemorrhage as might occur if someone was restrained forcibly either with ties or even just being held firmly. He didn't find any of that. The only place on the body where there was subcutaneous bruising was underneath the knees consistent with a man having knelt on the ground for a couple of hours. He did a full toxicological screen and only found evidence of the Co-Proxamol tablets that Dr Kelly's known to have ingested. He also looked for evidence of inhalational agents in the lungs, for instance like a pad of chloroform being held over the nose to render someone unconscious. No inhalational agents were found. So having taken that into account what one got was an impression of a man over a period of hours knelt on the ground having taken a large number of tablets, but not enough to kill him, but certainly enough to render him drowsy or slightly uncoordinated and a slow bleeding from this artery in the wrist which in itself may not have been enough to kill him. But that, combined with the circumstances, the tablets, the huge stress he was under, not just the political stress but also the stress of the act of trying to end his own life, at some stage in that process perhaps after a period of hours his heart stopped and unfortunately he died. This seemed on the balance of probabilities to be the most plausible explanation for his sad death.'I believe it is highly significant that a copy of the post-mortem report was in circulation at this time despite Lord Hutton's request that the report be embargoed for 70 years; I find it irregular that this embargo was so brazenly breached; and I also question why no action was taken by the Ministry of Justice, the police, or any other relevant authority to find out from Mr Gaunt why he believed it appropriate to discuss details of the report on a national BBC radio programme and from where he obtained the report.
In effect, Mr Gaunt spoke publicly about this case in order to to convince or persuade listeners that Dr Kelly killed himself. Yet he had no official connection with the case and he appears to have breached a legally enforced embargo stipulating that no member of the public could have sight of the post-mortem report. I would like to know on what basis this can be allowed? It amounts to Mr Gaunt having undue influence on the outcome of any future inquest.
Yours sincerely,
(Dr) Stephen Frost

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