Saturday, 15 September 2012

Vanessa Hunt at the Inquiry

MR DINGEMANS: Ms Hunt, please. 
Examined by MR DINGEMANS
Q. Can you tell his Lordship your full name? 

A. Vanessa Elizabeth Hunt.
Q. What is your occupation?
A. I am a paramedic.
Q. Were you on duty on 18th July?
A. Yes I was.
Q. What time did you start work?
A. 0700 hours.
Q. And where were you based at the time?
A. At Abingdon ambulance station.
Q. Did you have any calls that morning?
A. Yes, we did.
Q. Did you have any call relating to Dr Kelly?
A. Yes.
Q. What time did you get that call?
A. At 0940 hours to the ambulance station. 

The time of 9.40 is twenty minutes after Paul Chapman makes his 999 call.  Neither Dingemans nor Hutton investigate any reason for this delay.

Q. What were you asked to do? 
A. We were asked to mobilise towards Southmoor for a male patient but we were given no more details at that time.
Q. So, did you set off?
A. Yes, we did.
Q. In an ambulance?
A. In an ambulance with my colleague Dave Bartlett.
Q. And you drove to Southmoor?
A. Yes.
Q. Did anyone meet you there?
A. On the way we were given some more information on our data screens.
Q. What did that say?
A. It just said that we were attending the address -- Harrowdown Hill in Longworth for a male believed to be a kilo 1 which is actually deceased, and the Thames Valley Police were on the scene. 

It's not known who notified the ambulance service or how familiar they were with the geography.  I find it surprising though that Harrowdown Hill wasn't given as the original location rather than Southmoor.

Q. When you arrived on the scene was anyone there?
A. Yes, there were a number of police officers.
Q. Do you remember how many?
A. Just lots and there was police vehicles there as well.

I'll comment on the significant police presence in a later post. 

Q. Did you drive off the public road?
A. We parked up at the end of the public road, I do not know the name of the road.
Q. And you proceeded on foot?
A. Yes. 

Q. Who had met you?
A. There was an officer in regulation clothing who directed us to two or three other officers in combat trousers and black polo shirts and we followed them along the track.

It seems that the officer in regulation clothing was Sergeant Dadd and he directed them to PCs Franklin and Sawyer.

Q. You followed them along the track? 
A. Yes.
Q. And where did that lead to?
A. To a wooded area that was on the left of the track.
Q. And once you got to the wooded area did you stay on the outside of the wood?
A. Initially there were three people on the track, what I now know to be detective constable, one was the search and rescue and there was another gentleman there. The police officers that we had followed stopped and spoke to them and then we followed the two chaps up into the wooded area.

The mention of 'the search and rescue' matches the evidence of Franklin and Sawyer who had stated in the morning session that they had met Paul Chapman.

Q. And when you got into the wooded area, what did you see?
A. There was a male on his back, feet towards us.
Q. Yes.
A. And no obvious signs of life.
Q. Was there anything marking your route in to the body?
A. As we walked into the wooded area the police officers were marking a route off with metal posts. We just walked behind them.

This last answer confirms what was said by PC Sawyer about putting the poles in to mark out the common approach path ... as they were approaching the body. 

Q. And can you describe what was being worn by the man? 
A. It was -- it looked like a wax type jacket, dark colour.
Q. Yes.
A. A shirt and I believe jeans, but I cannot be certain of the lower clothing. He also had a pair of boots or trainer cross type footwear on.
Q. Could you see anything on the body itself?
A. On his left arm, which was outstretched to the left of him, there was some dry blood.

The description of the left arm being outstretched is very significant as will be discussed in a later post.  She refers to dry blood on the left arm rather than the hand or wrist, indicative of at least part of the arm being exposed.  Again this is a matter of some importance to look at in detail in due course. 

Q. Did you go towards the body? 
A. We stood behind the police officers while they took photographs. Then once they had taken the photographs I went to the right side of the body and my colleague went to the left side.
Q. And what was done to check for signs of life?
A. My colleague lifted the eyelids to check for pupil reaction, also felt the gentleman's neck for a carotid pulse and I initially placed the heart monitor paddles on to the chest over the top of his shirt. 

Q. Did you get any reading at all? 
A. There was some artefact reading I believed to be from myself as opposed to the body, so we said to the police officers would it be possible to place four sticky electrodes on to the chest, to verify that life was extinct. 
Q. What did the police say to you?
A. Could they just take some more photographs before we undid the shirt, which they then did. My colleague unbuttoned the shirt and I placed the four electrodes on to the chest, two on the upper part of the chest and two underneath the rib cage area.

Q. Did you connect those electrodes to anything?
A. To the heart monitor.
Q. What did that show?
A. That showed asystole which is a flat line.
Q. What does that mean?
A. It means there is no cardiac output and life is extinct.
Q. Did you declare life extinct?
A. We pronounced we were unable to certify but we said, yes, that, you know ...  

PC Sawyer's earlier testimony is matching her evidence well in this section.  I think that in her last answer she is trying to explain that she can, unofficially at least, confirm the body is dead but officially a paramedic can't certify death ... that would have to be done by a doctor.  

Q. What did you do with the strips from the machine? 
A. Took three strips and handed them all to the police officer.
Q. And what did the strips show?
A. Just a flat line.
Q. And having carried out those activities, what did you do then?
A. I said would they like us to leave the electrodes in situ, they requested that we did, remove the leads from the chest and left the shirt unbuttoned.
Q. Did you yourself move the body at all?
A. The only part of the body we moved was Dr Kelly's right arm, which was over the chest, to facilitate us to place the fourth lead on to the chest. It was just lifted slightly from the body. 

Louise Holmes stated in her evidence that the right arm was by the side, not over the chest. 

Q. Right. And do you recall, now, what Dr Kelly was wearing?
A. As I say, a dark coloured wax jacket, a shirt and I believe it to be jeans, but I am not certain.
Q. Right. And anything on his feet?
A. Trainers or cross trainer/boot type footwear.

Mr Dingemans likes to say 'Right' when he wants to move forward quickly.  Vanessa Hunt has already told him what Dr Kelly was wearing, why ask again?  Has he a reason to feel nervous?  

Q. Right. And did you see anything on the ground?
A. There was a silver bladed knife, a wristwatch, which was off of the wrist.
Q. Yes.
A. And, oh, a water bottle, a small water bottle stood up to the left side of Dr Kelly's head. 

Q. And did you note whether or not he had a mobile phone?
A. There was a mobile phone pouch clipped to his belt on his front but slightly to the right side, but you could not see if there was a phone within the pouch or not.
Q. Right. And what were you wearing while you were carrying out this?
A. My green squad suit and black boots

It's interesting that he asks about the mobile phone.  As with Paul Chapman he asks the witness what she was wearing at the scene.

Q. And is there anything else that you know of about the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death that you can assist his Lordship with?
A. Only that the amount of blood that was around the scene seemed relatively minimal and there was a small patch on his right knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There was no spraying of blood or huge blood loss or any obvious loss on the clothing.
Q. On the clothing?
A. Yes.

This lack of blood flagged up by Vanessa Hunt (and later by Dave Bartlett) is very bad news for the "death caused by haemorrhage" hypothesis.  

Q. One of the police officers or someone this morning said there appeared to be some blood on the ground. Did you see that?
A. I could see some on -- there were some stinging nettles to the left of the body. As to on the ground, I do not remember seeing a sort of huge puddle or anything like that. There was dried blood on the left wrist. His jacket was pulled to sort of mid forearm area and from that area down towards the hand there was dried blood, but no obvious sign of a wound or anything, it was just dried blood.
Q. You did not see the wound?
A. I did not see the wound, no.
Q. You were not looking at the wound, then?
A. The hand -- from what I remember, his arm -- left arm was outstretched to the left of the body.

The jacket pulled up to the mid forearm area and confirmation of the left arm being outstretched.

Q. Yes.
A. Palm up or slightly on the side (indicates) and, as I say, there was dried blood from the edge of the jacket down towards the hand but no gaping wound or anything obvious that I could see from the position I was in.
Q. Were you examining the wrist for --
A. No, I was not. No.
Q. And were you examining the ground for blood or blood loss?
A. No.
MR DINGEMANS: Right. Thank you.
LORD HUTTON: Thank you very much Ms Hunt. Thank you.

Mr Dingemans makes some sort of recovery here hinting that there could be blood loss but that the reason Ms Hunt didn't see it was because she wasn't examining the ground.  Good try Mr Dingemans but I'm afraid not good enough!  Whereas it's true that she wasn't at Harrowdown Hill to examine the ground she as an experienced paramedic would be mentally noting various bits of information at the scene not directly related to her checking for signs of life.  For instance she noticed some blood on the nearby stinging nettles.

If there was any significant amount of blood visible on the ground she would surely have seen it as she was squatting or kneeling in the area where the blood would be.

The description 'Palm up or slightly on the side' indicates the natural palm position when an arm is oustretched.           

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