Andrew Watt ended his article with the post-mortem examination being carried out by Dr Nicholas Hunt on the evening the body was found 18 July 2003. It was the penetrating smell of Lysol, lights and stainless steel in the mortuary of the John Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford, as well as the remains of a fit husband and father. Nine police officers were in attendance, the most senior being Detective Chief Inspector Alan Young who was in charge of the investigation. He was at the scene on Harrowdown Hill where the unidentified body was found by Louise Holmes. In spite of his lead position in the inquiry into a missing person, and then a suspicious death, he was neither called to the Hutton Inquiry which started sitting 13 days later, nor did he submit a statement to it (1). There is no obvious explanation for the presence of nine police officers at this very morbid autopsy given that the police had sprayed the word ‘suicide’ about earlier that day. The size of the squad would surely have fitted better if murder was foremost in the minds of the investigating authorities.
The examination finished just after midnight. Dr Hunt wrote up his
report of his findings at the scene and of his post mortem examination
the next day, the 19th of July. He would have come to preliminary
conclusions as to the cause of death and been helped in that by the
early findings of Dr Allan the toxicologist. That first report has
never been published; it was not referred to by Dr Hunt when he gave
evidence at the Hutton Inquiry (2) The only report, and that is
entitled Final Post Mortem Report 25th July 2003, was published in
October 2010, by the Ministry of Justice. The only original copy of
this in existence is a very poor ‘scan’. An OCR and tidied version of
this is here (3). That the findings in the first report have never been
made public was one among three important concerns brought by this
author to the General Medical Council in 2011, established by the
Medical Act of 1858. (4) This will be discussed later but suffice to
say they were dismissed.
Dr Nicholas Gardiner, HM Coroner for Oxfordshire, opened an inquest
as the law demands for all violent, unnatural or unexplained deaths on
the 21st July. It is surprising that transcripts of coronial hearings
are seldom made. The hearing would have been attended by Dr Hunt, the
coroner’s officer and the police. It would have been adjourned until
more evidence had flowed in. However, it can be inferred that the cause
of death had been given by Dr Hunt. (5 )
Whilst this mouse of an inquest moved ever so quietly, an elephant
had been trampling the undergrowth for the three previous days, starting
at Harrowdown Hill. Within three hours of the body being found, my
Lord Hutton had been engaged to chair an ad hoc inquiry, by my Lord
Falconer as Dr Watt has already described. Miles Goslett recently
reported in the Mail that Hutton had confirmed in a letter to Norman
Baker MP that he had been asked to meet Lord Chancellor Falconer in his
Lord’s office around noon of the 18th July and that he agreed to
serve.(6) At that point the subject, David Christopher Kelly CMG DSc had
not been identified and no cause of death had been established. This
fixer was a friend of Blair’s when they were in chambers studying law!
He had assisted his friend the PM in bolstering the claim that there was
a legal basis for a massive bombardment and invasion of Iraq rather
than it being a supreme war crime as defined at Nuremberg.
It is salutary to consider that it took six and half years for the
Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq ‘War’ to be set up in which over one
million Iraqi humans died, at least two million were maimed by customary
calculation and four million were made refugees in Syria and Jordan.
It took the New Labour high command, the sofa cabinet, just three hours
after the death of just one man to set up Hutton with the clear
intention of containing the inquiry and ensuring safe conclusions. The
instruction given to Hutton was to ‘…urgently to conduct an
investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly’.
‘Urgently’ can be interpreted as ‘nail this promptly’, ‘consider’ as
‘without especial accuracy’ and ‘circumstances’ as equalling the ‘media
furore’ which obviously drove Kelly to an inevitable suicide. It was
not who the deceased was, and how, when and where he died which are the
plain duties of a coroner. It was the ‘circumstances’; and if anything
showed the mind and the motives of this most evil cabal, that word is
The words of the two conversations (6) between Falconer in
Westminster and his pal Blair on wing to Tokyo in the hour after noon
that day have not, of course, been revealed. That it was to do with an
awkward corpse in a wood it is fair to assume. After all, it was a
central topic at the press conference in Tokyo where blood, or other
medium, drained from Blair’s face with ‘Have you got blood on your hands
Mr Blair’ from a Daily Mail journalist. The obvious answer was that he
had the blood of thousands upon thousands of people on his hands
whereas the European only had one white man in mind at that moment.
Correspondence by Ms Albon of Falconer’s other office (he was also
the Secretary of State in the Department of Constitutional Affairs –
Mikado style) with the Oxfordshire coroner has a dictatorial ring to it.
It was recognised he had to reconvene his inquest in law but this
mouse then had to be silent until the elephant had trumpeted the
findings. All this was engineered by the mechanism of Section 17a of
the 1988 Coroner’s Act. It had been applied for multiple deaths of
common cause Shipman, the Ladbroke rail crash and the sinking of the
trawler Gaul. It had at its root – efficiency in investigation,
thoughtfulness towards loved ones and verdict as to the common cause.
There was no justification for invocation of Section 17a on top of this
ad hoc inquiry other than to shackle the coroner and thus to subvert due
process. With a few ‘phone calls Falconer had made certain with this
ad hoc ‘judicial’ inquiry that there would be no evidence under oath, no
ability to subpoena witnesses, no cross examination and no ability to
call a jury. The last thing he wanted was twelve good women/men and
The coup de grace for the mouse was this Section 17a. There was a
further hearing on the 14th of August at which an extraordinary death
certificate was conjured up and registered four days later. The hearing
was not publicised and again there was no transcript or reportage. This
officer of the Crown whose authority and duties stretched back to the
13th Century had been made into a small creature by power and cunning.
The use of these powers to oust the Coroners jurisdiction … is how
Frances Swaine of Leigh Day & Co put it an excellent memorandum to
the Attorney General in October 2010. (7) (Leigh Day were initially
instructed by Dr Frost; they did a large amount of excellent work
A letter that Mr Gardiner wrote 6th of August to Ms Albon includes
The preliminary cause of death given at the opening of the inquest no
longer represents the view of the Pathologist and evidence from him
would need to be given to correct and update the evidence already received.
(5 section ONE). This was brushed aside in a letter from lawyers
acting for Dr Hunt who were reacting to this long letter from the author
to the GMC listing his concerns about Dr Hunt’s performance.(5)
Whether his opinion had been changed or not, there was an absolute
professional and legal requirement on him to reveal his initial report
with its conclusions and his train of thought.
This principle has been tested in the case of Dr Kenneth Shorrock who
is currently suspended for unknown reason from the Home Office list of
forensic pathologists which was last updated 15th May 2013. This
extract from (5 section ONE) - He was charged with serious
professional misconduct by the General Medical Council on eight counts I
believe. He had produced a second post-mortem report
on a hospital patient which was indicative of negligence by the surgeon
without any reference to his first report which had exonerated the
The surgeon was charged with manslaughter but was cleared. He
complained to the Home Office whose Scientific Standards Committee of
the Policy Advisory Board opined that he had not ‘maintained the
standards required’ and simply issued advice, its interest ending in
July 2004. The surgeon then complained to the General Medical Council.
Mr Vernon Coaker, Minister of State at the Home Office, said in a
letter to the author 22 November 2008 The GMC had been considering the
complaint for, I believe, many months (prior to July 2005) and had,
similarly, taken no steps to restrict Dr Shorrock’s practice.
Of the greatest importance is the fact that he was called from
Sheffield to examine the remains of Jean Charles de Menezes who had been
shot with six hollow point bullets in the head as he sat in a ‘tube’
carriage 22nd July 2005. Sheffield is 150 miles from London which has
at least 8 forensic pathologists available. The call to attend a
headless Jean Charles was in spite of the fact that a charge of serious
professional misconduct was hanging over him; the first hearing by the
GMC Fitness to Practice Panel was only six weeks after the killing of
Jean Charles. There had been several adjournments of the GMC hearings
of this charge which was first heard 5th of September 2005. The nine
page summary of the final hearing 19 February 2007 found him guilty of
serious professional misconduct. (8 -HALPIN website)
This author wrote to five relevant authorities before the 22nd
September 2008 inquest at the Oval, Kennington about this most improper
instruction given to Dr Shorrock to take this case in the summer of
2005. There were no replies from any one of the five; this included the
Public Solicitor to the inquiry and Justice4Jean. Dr Shorrock’s
evidence would be central at this inquest and would include the position
and identity of each bullet prior to ballistic studies, and would thus
indicate which weapon and which agent had injured Jean Charles beyond
recognition IF the evidence had not been contaminated. The Independent
Police Complaints Commission does not have a reputation for being just
but it did not take possession of the scene until 48 hours had elapsed.
The final hearing of five altogether took place on the 5th of
February 2007. The GMC panel found him guilty of the charge of serious
professional misconduct. It found his actions “unprofessional,
inconsistent, unreasonable, not based upon the medical and pathological
information and likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute”.
Two professors of forensic pathology advised the panel:-
Vanezis – ‘He further stated that if a pathologist had reason
to change his conclusions or opinion, an explanation should be given as
to why he has deemed this necessary.’
Pounder – ‘ Dr Shorrock had a duty to make reference to the existence of the first report. In addition, the second report should have given the reasons for his change of view.
Many had written in support of Dr Kenneth Shorrock. He was simply issued with a reprimand.
The reader has two forensic pathologists in examine.
One was lecturing at the Police Staff College, Bramshill, Hampshire
when he was called to a corpse on Harrowdown Hill which was all about a
supreme war crime.
The other was called from Sheffield to a most high profile unlawful killing at Southwell Tube Station, London.
Should the second have been on gardening leave until the GMC had
considered the serious charge against him? Or did Jean Charles not
deserve the best within our law?
Should the first not have fully revealed the first post mortem report
he wrote up on Dr Kelly on the 19th of July? It is certain there was a
FIRST report and Lord Hutton referred to it in his introduction. Were
the opinions as to the causes of death different in important ways
between the 19th of July and the FINAL Post Mortem Report of the 25th of
July. It is clear the Coroner thought so. That this gross defect
slipped through is typical of much that happened at Hutton. His
professional and legal duty was made completely clear later in the case
of Dr Shorrock.
We move on next to the Hutton Inquiry and its many defects.