Monday, 5 January 2015

Willie McRae Part 8: More Car Timings


In Part 7 we used police documents to find specific times at which certain events happened.  Then I estimated for other untimed events, the earliest (or latest) times at which they could have happened.

Here we look at Macrae’s car and place some untimed events in their logical place.

There are 10 car events,

image

There are a lot of gaps and, ideally, we’d put definite times against all but, unfortunately, that’s not possible.  All is not lost though.

Let’s see what we can manage.

Why?  What’s the point of this?

When I started reading up on this case I was faced with articles which stated that the car was moved on this day or that; that the gun was found on that day or this and I had no reference, no framework, against which I could check. I ‘m trying to produce that reference so that with any piece of evidence we can check to find how the evidence fits.

We’ll look again at 3 police documents, each of which was used in Part 7,
- Annex A
- Macrae B syn
- Macrae O Vehicle Report  Page 1
Let’s see the relevant parts of each,

Macrae B syn E3a
[Annex A]


STR 2 Macrae B Syn
[Macrae B syn]


image_thumb6    [Macrae O Vehicle Examination page 1]

The top two images confirm time 1 and the third time 5.

Now we’ll look at times 6,7 and 8.


Police at Site, Car secured and Moved to Inverness

The key part of the top two images is highlighted above.
X-rays showed that there was a bullet in his brain.  AT THIS POINT senior officers were informed, attended the locus, the vehicle was secured and removed to Police Headquarters at Inverness. [Emphasis is mine]
We know the diagnosis, bullet in his brain, was made on Saturday, 6 April.  Both the layout and the language used imply strongly that the next 4 actions followed on directly from the diagnosis [senior officers informed, attended locus, car secured and car removed to Inverness].

AT THIS POINT suggests that senior police officers were told after, and not before, the X-ray confirmation.  That the 4 actions are linked suggests also that these followed on directly.

That the following paragraph in both Annex A and Macrae B syn mention Macrae’s death very early on the Sunday morning implies that the 4 actions took place on the Saturday.

Therefore, it is a reasonable assumption that these 4 actions all took place on the Saturday but it is just that – an assumption.  There is nothing definitive in the police records to confirm this.

Using my calculations from Part 7, I can estimate the earliest times that the car was secured and moved to Inverness.  As with Part 7, I put the calculations at the very end of the post after the copyright terms.


Police
Records
Calum’s Calcs    L = Latest
E = Earliest
1
6 Apr 11.15
Car at site
2
E   6 Apr 11.35
Police first at site
3
L   6 Apr 14.48
Car removed from site to West End Garage, Fort Augustus
4

L   6 Apr 15.25
Car at West End Garage
5
6 Apr 15.30
E ended 15.45
Car examined at garage
6
E   6 Apr 14.48 (AIR)
E   6 Apr 15.54
L   6 Apr 20.05
 
Senior police officers at locus
7
E   6 Apr 14.01 (AIR)
E   6 Apr 15.07
Car secured
8
E  6 Apr 16.32
Car moved to Inverness
9
Photographs of car and site
10
Measurements of road and crash site

This leaves us with only times 9 (photographs of the car and site) and 10 (the map and road measurements) empty. Let’s do the photographs first


Photographs

What can we do here?

There are only two very obvious possibilities: either they were taken before the car was removed to Fort Augustus or they were not.  For the moment let’s assume they were taken before the car was taken to the West End garage in Fort Augustus.

We have two fixed time events which give : (‘1’, 11.15, and ‘5’, 15.30, in the Table above.  The pics HAD to be taken within these two times – Fort Augustus police told about accident and the car being in Fort Augustus garage but we can narrow the window slightly using my ‘earliest’ times from Part 7. 

Macrae witnesses and ambulance have left the site before the photographs were taken and so we can use the earliest time that Macrae could have been in the ambulance as one side of the window i.e. 11.45.

We also know the photographs were taken with the car on site and I estimated the latest time the car could have been in position on site was 14.48.

Therefore the window for the photographs was 11.45 to 14.48 on Saturday 6 April.  Those 3 hours seem to me to be ample to assess the road, the site and take a photographic record provided the necessary equipment was to hand.

If the photographs were taken outside this window, then the car was returned to the site in a reconstruction.  Were this so, the police investigation would be undermined seriously.  There is no evidence to support this contention.

A question some might ask is, ‘Were the photographs taken on the same day or were some taken at a different time?’   Perhaps one needs to be thinking in terms of conspiracy to find this question but find it I did.

macrae 4
macrae 5 macrae 6 macrae 7
macrae 8
macrae 9
macrae 10 macrae 11
macrae 12 macrae 13
The breakdown lorry is visible in the same position in each of photos 1 to 5 (Macrae 4 to 8).

In photos 1 to 6, part of the same cloud formation is visible in each.  Therefore, photos 1 to 6 were taken on the same day at very similar times.  For the other pics (7 to 10) the area of sky is different and so they could have been taken on a different day or at a different time but there is no evidence to suggest this.

Locus Map

Along with the photos and the synopsis (Macrae, A,B and C) the locus map is the only other undated document.  This may or may not be significant.

We cannot know when the map was drawn but I believe that the time window for the photos would have been sufficient for the locus map observations and measurements to have been done.

But I can’t with any confidence give a time other than it must have been after 11.45 on Saturday 6 April, the earliest possible time that Macrae was taken to hospital.

This gives us the following times for events which were not timed in police documents.

Police
Records
Calum’s Calcs    L = Latest
E = Earliest
1
6 Apr 11.15
Car at site
2
E   6 Apr 11.35
Police first at site
3
L   6 Apr 14.48
Car removed from site to West End Garage, Fort Augustus
4

L   6 Apr 15.25
Car at West End Garage
5
6 Apr 15.30
E ended 15.45
Car examined at garage
6
E   6 Apr 14.48 (AIR)
E   6 Apr 15.54
L   6 Apr 20.05
 
Senior police officers at locus
7
E   6 Apr 14.01 (AIR)
E   6 Apr 15.07
Car secured
8
E  6 Apr 16.32
Car moved to Inverness
9
If Saturday 6 April then between 11.45 and 14.48
Photographs of car and site
10
If Saturday 6 April then after 11.45
Measurements of road and crash site

I apologise for the slow progress but, as I have said before, my way of working demands that I walk slowly through the available evidence of the accident. 
You may find this frustrating.
You may want to move on to more obviously interesting parts of the case.
I can only ask that you bear with me.

My upcoming posts are,
Part 9  - putting time questions to the police
Part 10 - looking into the detail of the photos and the locus map. 
Part 11  - working on the gun.

See you soon.

__________________________________________________________________

If you have thoughts, or more, feel free to:
email me at calumsblogATgmailDOTcom or
tweet me at @calumcarr


© CalumCarr 2014
__________________________________________________________________
COPYRIGHT
Copyright over this article is retained by me, CalumCarr.
Please feel free to reproduce extracts and images provided you attribute the words and images to me taking into account the provisos below.
If you wish to use more than one quarter of the article then contact me for permission at calumsblogATgmailDOTcom.
Copyright of the three images is retained by their respective owners and to this end I name: Police Scotland.
_________________________________________________________________________

TIMINGS: MY WORKINGS AND ASSUMPTIONS
Securing the Vehicle
It is reasonable to assume that senior officers either did not know Macrae’s car and belongings had been moved had been or deemed that course of action acceptable until after they were told about the bullet in Macrae’s brain. Annex A states that initially police treated the crash as an accident.  Therefore, there was no reason for the car to be secured until they knew Macrae had been shot.
Now, from Part 7, we have my calculations which show the earliest times senior officers were told
EARLIEST police informed (ambulance) at 15.02pm
EARLIEST police informed (AIR ambulance) at 13.56pm
LATEST police informed at 19.13
If we assume excellent communications between the police involved then it is difficult to see that the police could order the car’s securing within 5 minutes of being informed themselves.
This gives,
EARLIEST car secured (ambulance) at 15.07pm
EARLIEST police secured (AIR ambulance) at 14.01pm
But we know the car was being examined at 15.30 and, given the checks carried out, I believe it reasonable to assign a minimum of 15 minutes to the task.
==> EARLIEST vehicle examination completed 15.45.

Moving Car to Inverness
Google maps shows the distance between fort Augustus and Police HQ in Inverness as 35.3 miles with a journey time of 55 minutes.
In Part 7 I used an average speed of 50mph for the transfer of the car to the garage in Fort Augustus.  I use the same average here.
==> 42min
but we allow 5 min to put the car back on the transporter before transport to Inverness
==> EARLIEST time the car could be Inverness is 15.45 + 47mins ==> 16.32
It isn’t possible to give latest time for the car to arrive in Inverness because it is possible that the car wasn’t secured and moved until after senior officers had visited the site of the crash.  I have estimated the latest time they would have reached the site but beyond that I can make no estimate.













21 comments:

  1. Ok now this is getting interesting. The evidence shows that the car was almost certainly removed from the scene before Willie was discovered to have been shot. The question therefore is would the police have photographed the scene if they had attending what they thought was a regular road traffic accident? If so, the photos may be of the scene as found. If not, they are likely to be of a reconstruction, possibly at the wrong location.

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  2. Yes!

    I don't know what was the 1985 Standard Operating Procedure for a serious accident. I could imagine it involving measurement and photographing the scene. I'm sure for a fatal it would be mandatory.

    I assume that, initially, Macrae's crash would be deemed as serious given that Dr Messer, an early witness, diagnosed brain damage.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the scene were measured and photographed after Macrae was taken to Raigmore with the car being removed when that was complete.

    BUT there is no definitive evidence ... either way.

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  3. I took a slow read through this earlier today during a quiet hour when I was supposedly working. Nothing yet that makes me seriously doubt the official version. An interesting process you have embarked upon.

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  4. I would have been very surprised were I, at this stage, questioning the official version.

    IF there were a conspiracy I imagine it would consist of omitting facts or lines of enquiry rather than changing so-called 'facts'.

    Again, IF there were a conspiracy the released facts would fit the required scenario.

    I continue my slow walk.

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  5. I was not questioning your methods. However, you say "IF there were a conspiracy I imagine it would consist of omitting facts or lines of enquiry rather than changing so-called 'facts'."; but the sugestions of conspiracy I have seen rely on such things as the police taking the car back to the wrong location and faking a set of tyre tracks all the way from the road to the car; and telling lies about where the gun was found in relation to the car, and etc... Accusations, that is, of a huge changing of facts and faking of evidence, far from mere ommissions. These are the accusations you will presumably encounter and consider at some point on your journey.

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  6. I never thought for a second that you were questioning my methods. Not at all. Apols if I gave that impression.

    There's the possibility of a 'true' conclusion or cock-up or conspiracy.

    Any suggestion of car being taken to wrong site I've seen as cock-up. But what then about car tracks? I'll leave that for mo.

    Yes I will cover the areas you suggest but don't know when. Just working through the police evidence is a big job.

    In fact, it's more than the working through, it's the thinking, the making of images, the writing.

    Had I realised a month ago just how big a job I'd undertaken I doubt I'd have started ...

    ... but I've started and so I'll finish.

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  7. I know I'm jumping ahead here, but one has to consider the difficulty in getting the car into the position shown in the photographs if doing a reconstruction. A crane would not reach, so you would have to basically drive the car off the road and hope it ended up somewhere about right, and not get killed yourself in the process. The car was too far from the road to have been placed there with a crane. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure that the photos were of the actual crash scene.

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  8. You are jumping ahead but you are allowed to go wherever your thoughts take you. There's no reason why you should be restricted to the particular subject I'm dealing with.

    I don't doubt, that had the police been determined to put the car back into its position, then it could have been done by, for example, using a crane from the adjacent large layby which would shorten the carry distance significantly.

    This doesn't mean, of course, that it was done nor even that I think it was or might have been done.

    Again though please feel free to speculate as and when you wish.

    Thanks for your interest.

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  9. I'm with Andrew at the moment. I don't see any skulduggery on the part of the investigators so far. Also, Mr. Welsh's statement tends to support the suicide motive.

    My feeling, though, is that it's far more likely that the police made some mistakes and any sinister behaviour from them is merely a cover-up of those mistakes, than that anyone lauched a complicated and large-scale conspiracy within hours of the accident. Of course, the mistakes may be things that led them to come to the wrong conclusion about whether this was suicide or murder.

    I don't want to bang on too much about Lockerbie and if I do then please stop me, but there are parallels. When I started looking at that there were well-established allegations of evidence-tampering which had extremely compelling logic behind them. I can't convince myself that happened. The questionable and anomalous provenance seems to be due to investigator incompetence rather than providing provenance for a fabrication.

    However, I ended up somewhere different, looking at real unfalsified evidence, and realising that even worse incompetence by the same investigators had led them to overlook the necessary analysis of the forensics that would have proved the modus operandi was different from the one that was eventually seized on.

    So really, you don't know where you'll end up at this stage. It's quite possible MacRae was depressed and a bit drunk, but still someone forced his car off the road then came in and shot him at very close range when he was stunned by the impact. And that the failure of the police to realise the crash might be a crime scene until they'd removed the car destroyed any hope of figuring out what happened.

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  10. Rolfe says: "It's quite possible MacRae was depressed and a bit drunk, but still someone forced his car off the road then came in and shot him at very close range when he was stunned by the impact."

    I agree this scenario could fit the evidence I've seen so far; as could the scenario that he was depressed and drunk and drove the car off the road (either accidentally or deliberately) then shot himself.

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  11. ...but it is surely significant that the gun that fired the fatal shot was apparently one owned by the man himself. Any foul play scenario would therefore require the perpetrator to have known about that gun in advance and either have had access to it or have known it would be in the car and loaded.

    There are a lot of things for which hard evidence would be needed before seriously suspecting foul play, especially given that (reportedly) the man's brother was so concerned about his suicidal state he had previously felt the need to remove the gun from his possession at one point.

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  12. I'm waiting for Calum to get further on with the facts. I've also heard that the gun wasn't known to be MacRae's, and only one person who has since disappeared said it was. I also don't know if the bullet in MacRae's head was confirmed to have been fired by the gun that was found. I also don't know how reliable the story is that there were no fingerprints on the gun. (It's already obvious that nobody can possibly know how near or how far from MacRae's hand that gun was found.)

    I hope Calum will look at these points and clarify what is actually known about the issues.

    I'm so glad there's somewhere looking at this sensibly. I'm sick of being told that MacRae was murdered, that's a fact, and anyone who questions it is a shill for the establishment and probably working for MI5. I'm not yet convinced that he wasn't murdered, or that he was. But it seems as if an open mind is a heinous crime to some people. Agree with them or else!

    Mind you, they usually also insist that you agree that JFK was murdered by US security forces, and at that point I usually remember a pressing prior engagement.

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  13. As things stand I don't disagree with either of you, Rolfe and Andrew.

    It would be too easy to pick up on one or other of the contentious points, then run and build a story. I suspect there's been a fair degree of this in the last 29 years plus .... and too little rigour.

    Hopefully, I'm bringing a wee bit of rigour to the subject.

    Many thanks to both of you for your continuing intererest.

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  14. Good grief it's started again on Twitter right this minute. Some rubbish in the Daily Fail tomorrow. Some eejit claiming that the play 3000 Trees (which one?) explains it all.

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  15. The police documents released under FOI show the gun and the unused bullets and the bullet removed from the chap (if I remember correctly) but of course people do not necessarily believe the police documents - that much is evident.

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  16. Rolfe, have joined in on Twitter.

    I enjoyed Mark MacNicol's 3000 Trees. Enjoyed ... but is art.

    Art may reflect fact but to accept art as fact without reflection is not wise.

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  17. Macrae's holiday home was broken into, his office may have been, he may have been followed by Special Branch. None of this means he was killed.

    Macrae was killed with his gun, he may have been drunk, he may have been suicidal. None of this means he committed suicide.

    Too many jumping on bandwagons.

    Re MI5 FOI response: can read nothing into it. It seems as though delay and refusal is common-place but that doesn't mean that there is always something to hide.

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  18. How does one find this Twitter feed and does one have to be "On" Twitter to read it. I am not a Twitterer and have no intention of becoming one so I know little about it, but if it is possible to view Tweets online please advise.

    And... The stupidity of almost all human activity is people just deciding to believe what they wish to believe, which is why I generally avoid getting involved in discussions on such issues. (Generally... but I may continue here)

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  19. You need Twitter account but you don't need to send tweets.

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  20. Thanks for the information. I will not bother.

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  21. Rolfe, Just seen your comment at 21.20

    There's a summary timings post coming out tomorrow or Thursday followed by one on Monday next about the police evidence of the accident itself.


    The week after that - hopefully Monday 19th - I'm looking at the gun but only from the point of view of the documents released by the police.

    I think it's important to look at the police documents on their own without my thoughts being tainted by what's been published elsewhere.

    Later I'll look at what others say about the gun, and the accident, and the timings and Special branch etc but then I can do it with the background of knowing the police docs inside out.

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