Thursday, 4 August 2011

Letter from Anne-Marie Ingram to Dominic Grieve QC

Dear Mr Grieve,
I, like many others, am shocked by the phone hacking scandal, not least because of the involvement of so many powerful individuals.  It is against this background of emerging evidence of serious corruption amongst the Establishment that I am writing to urge you to reconsider your decision not to apply for an inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.
Before making your decision, you carried out an investigation into some aspects of Dr Kelly’s death, as you explained in your statement of 9 June 2011.  You stated "In the light of the public interest in this case, I have taken the very unusual step of carrying out my own investigation into whether an inquest is necessary or desirable in the public interest.”
You asked Dr Richard Shepherd to examine all relevant material and advise on a number of issues.  In a letter dated 12 November 2010, Mr McGinty wrote to Dr Shepherd on your behalf asking him to advise on the following:

* “Whether the conclusions set out in the death certificate are reasonable;
* Your own view on the cause of death
* The legitimacy or otherwise of the criticisms that have been made of the forensic examination
* Whether all proper steps were taken to determine whether the death was indeed self inflicted and no outside                    agency had been involved
* How the material provided to Lord Hutton and Dr Hunt’s examination in the Hutton Inquiry compared with what   might have happened at an inquest.”

To assist Dr Shepherd, Mr McGinty said “I will write to Thames Valley Police for a copy of the full police report plus witness statements from relevant witnesses.”
Dr Shepherd failed to address the above issues properly.  Just three examples of this failure are as follows:
1)    Dr Shepherd did not have the witness statements from PC Franklin and PC Sawyer.  This is important because
PC Franklin and PC Sawyer led a fingertip search of the site, and PC Sawyer was a police photographer who took
photographs at the scene which were referred to at the Hutton Inquiry.  Dr Shepherd did not obtain either the photographs taken by PC Sawyer, or the witness statements. PCs Franklin and Sawyer must surely qualify as “relevant witnesses”, and whilst it may have been an oversight on your office’s part in failing to send their statements and photographs to Dr Shepherd, it was Dr Shepherd’s responsibility to ensure he had everything he needed to fulfill his brief.  
2)    Dr Shepherd appears to have only seen photographs taken by the police photographer Mr McGee. On the basis of these photos.  Dr Shepherd stated “It is quite clear from consideration of the photographs of the scene that, at the time they were taken, the body of David Kelly lay with his feet pointing away from the tree and that there was a significant gap between the base of the tree and the top of the head.”  Yet Lord Hutton stated he had seen a photo, (presumably taken by PC Sawyer), which shows the position of Dr Kelly’s body with his head slumped against the base of a tree. In spite of this,  Dr Shepherd concludes “In my opinion there is no evidence to support the theory that the body had been moved after discovery.”  This is clearly not the case.
3)    Dr Shepherd did not request a copy of the initial original post-mortem report by Dr Hunt, which was dated 19 July 2003, and which was referred to by Lord Hutton in his opening statement at the Hutton Inquiry.  Even if the later 
post-mortem report of 25 July 2003 by Dr Hunt was identical.  Dr Shepherd was duty bound to obtain and compare both documents in responding to his brief.
Combining this report with the issues around the actions and evidence of Thames Valley Police officers, and many other unanswered questions, does not inspire confidence that there is any interest in the Establishment for the truth about Dr Kelly’s death to be made public. 
An inquest would be able to assuage these concerns, and I hope you will reconsider your decision.
Yours sincerely,
Anne-Marie Ingram