Sunday, 9 September 2012

PC Franklin - his briefing

As with earlier witnesses to the Inquiry I'll record what PC Franklin had to say with the occasional comment from myself.  His testimony, and that of PC Sawyer, immediately followed the examinations of the evidence of the two volunteer searchers given on the morning of 2 September.  Thus these two police officers will have heard what Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman had to say.

Examined by MR DINGEMANS
Q. Could you tell his Lordship your full name?
A. My name is Dean Andrew Franklin.
Q. And your occupation?
A. I am a police constable with the police support team, Thames Valley Police.
Q. Where are you based?
A. We are based at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

More on the police support team later.

Q. Were you on duty on 18th July?
A. I was called on duty from my home address.
Q. What time did you get a call?
A. 06.15 hours.
Q. And do you live near Windsor then?
A. I live in Windsor.
Q. Where were you called to?
A. To Abingdon police station.
Q. How long did it take to get there?
A. Just over an hour.
Q. When you arrived, who else was there?
A. I met with my sergeant, Paul Woods, who took us into a briefing; and there was several other officers there.
Q. How many officers were there?
A. I could not tell you exactly.
Q. But roughly?
A. 8 to 10.

DC Coe and PC Sawyer get called out at about 6 o'clock.  My assumption is that officers were called out as quickly as possible after the end of ACC Page's meeting.  I would think it quite likely that Paul Woods himself called out his own PCs and that somebody else might have contacted DCs Coe and Shields.

Q. You were given a briefing by your sergeant?
A. Yes.
Q. What was the nature of the briefing?
A. The nature of the briefing was initially a missing person search, to look for Dr David Kelly.
Q. You were given some details of Dr Kelly?
A. Yes, we were given a photograph with his details on it, what he was supposed to be wearing, and then Sergeant Woods and I discussed the search parameters and whereabouts we would start the search.
Q. And what was the nature of that discussion?
A. With all missing person inquiries we look, initially, to beauty spots, areas that are frequented by the missing person, and that is where we would start our search.
Q. Had you got any information about what areas he frequented then?
A. I was passed that information by Sergeant Woods.
Q. What were you told by Sergeant Woods?
A. The search would begin at Harrowdown Hill, which was apparently an area frequented by Dr Kelly on his regular walking route.

Franklin seems clear that Harrowdown Hill was where their search would start even though ACC Page appears to recollect that that location is number 2 on the list of likely places to which Dr Kelly would have gone.  

Q. And having had this discussion with Sergeant Woods, where do you go then?
A. We were actually at the police station. I was just deploying my team --
Q. How many are in your team?
A. I was given a search team leader, which is PC Sawyer, and 6 other officers, when we received a call that a body had been found at Harrowdown Hill.
Q. Do you know how many other people were out searching at this time?
A. I believe it was only the two volunteers out searching at that time. The parameters for our search and the logistics of calling our teams in does take a bit of time. So PC Sawyer and I were going to be the first team out on the ground.
Q. We have heard evidence about a helicopter out searching the night before. Had you heard about that?
A. No.

Did Paul Woods have some psychic ability?  The volunteer searchers get sent to Harrowdown Hill.  It might be thought that PC Franklin and his team would try their luck somewhere else but were going to be sent to much the same location.  What I find more weird though is the fact that Franklin isn't told about the helicopter having been searching a few hours before.  We can be fairly sure that at the 5.15 am meeting Woods was fully briefed about the helicopter activity.  It seems then that he was aware but didn't mention this to PC Franklin.


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