In Part 12, using only the police documents, we spent a long time looking at where the gun was found. Here we have a short post which looks at the question,
How did the gun get into that part of the burn directly below the driver’s door?
Here I don’t consider the gun being in any position other than that specified in the question because my approach in these posts is to consider only the documents released by the police and the Crown Office.
This extract from Annex A is the only reference to the question I posed.
There is little evidence for me to consider here but these few words may have an importance which is not immediately obvious …. or you may feel by the end that I have led you a merry, but unnecessary, dance.
What is clear immediately is that the police do NOT know how the gun actually got into the burn. They were faced with the situation where the gun was in the burn and they needed to be able to explain how it got there and they came up with three possible reasons.
One could call this process ‘logical deduction’ but ‘considered speculation’ is just as appropriate.
What is also clear is that the police made two basic assumptions,
- Macrae shot himself
- the gun ended up in the burn through no deliberate act.
Let’s break this down into four pieces but we’re going to look only at the first section.
|It was concluded from the position of the deceased’s head when found by witnesses that|
|that either the recoil from the gun when the fatal shot was fired caused it to drop out of the broken window into the burn|
|or that the gun was lodged against the car door and had fallen out of the car when the car door was opened by witnesses|
|or that the gun was lodged in the deceased’s hand and had fallen out of the car when the car door was opened by witnesses|
You’ll notice that I have modified 3 and 4 so that all the words which belong to each are present.
If you think I have altered the meaning of the original statement, please let me know.
1. It was concluded from the position of the deceased’s head when found
by witnesses that
There is nothing in any of the released documents which describes the position of Macrae’s head. I have read descriptions in newspaper reports but I will not use them here because that would mean giving the description credibility which it might not deserve and so we proceed without that information.
I am puzzled that the police imply that the position of Macrae’s head is relevant to how the gun found its way into the burn but the document is in no doubt.
The three possibilities which the police found are the obvious ones. And they would still be the obvious ones regardless of the head’s position. If we stick with the two basic assumptions, mentioned above, how else could the gun get into the burn?
What options would the police have come up with had Macrae’s head been in a different position? I can’t think of any.
But the police aren’t finished with assumptions: they make two more here:
- how the gun gets into the burn is linked to the position of Macrae’s head
- all motor function stopped immediately after the shot
The first of these is, I hope, self-evident from the words used, ‘It was concluded from the position of the deceased’s head when found by witnesses that’.
It’s possible I’ve lost you on the second. Let me explain.
The police state that they drew conclusions about how the gun ended up in the burn based upon the position of Macrae’s head when he was found by the witnesses. This can only be of any value if the head’s position does not change after the initial movement following the shot. If Macrae had retained sufficient motor function to move his head even once then the conclusions would be at risk.
Imagine, in the minutes and hours after the shooting, that Macrae had retained sufficient motor function to move his head and had indeed done so then the position of his head, when found, is effectively a random position from which no conclusions can be drawn.
Therefore, the police’s words - ‘It was concluded from the position of the deceased’s head when found by witnesses that’ – only make sense if they believed that he lost all control of his head in the immediate aftermath of the shot.
Now I take one more step from this with which you may disagree.
I said that the words of the police only make sense if Macrae lost all control of his head in the immediate aftermath of the shot. It seems inconceivable that the police could believe he lost control of his head but retained some degree of control over the rest of his body. Therefore, I think it is reasonable to conclude that the police actually assumed that Macrae lost all motor function immediately.
BUT am I correct to state this as a police assumption? You might think this question is irrelevant but wait.
To shoot himself in the right temple, Macrae must have held the gun in his right hand and also raised his right arm. The firing of the shot would have created a recoil and his right arm would have moved uncontrollably because, according to the police assumption, his motor function would have stopped immediately. Therefore his right arm and hand should have ended up in a position which resulted from this uncontrollable movement.
There were claims, in newspapers, that both of Macrae’s hands were on his lap.
Now let me make an assumption.
Assume the newspaper report is correct and Macrae’s hands were on his lap.
How could this happen IF he immediately lost all motor function? Of all the possible positions his hand and arm could have ended up in, his hand ended up on his lap!
For the position of Macrae’s head to have had relevance to how the gun ended up in the burn all motor function must have been lost. Why, then, did the reported position of his hands not cause the police a problem?
Surely the police aren’t saying that his right arm and hand ended up in what appears to be a controlled position through uncontrolled movement!
BUT that hand position has not been confirmed officially and so they may not have been on Macrae’s lap.
BUT all motor function may not have stopped immediately after the shot.
BUT the ‘It was concluded’ statement may be wrong. Perhaps it’s a badly written sentence.
BUT it does lead to more questions for the police and Crown Office.
QUESTIONS FOR POLICE SCOTLAND AND THE CROWN OFFICE
[Where I write ‘police’ please read as ‘police and Crown Office’]
What was the position of Macrae’s head when found by witnesses?
Do the police believe that Macrae’s head remained unmoved from the immediate aftermath of the shot until the witnesses arrived? Whether Yes or No, what is the basis for believing this?
Do the police believe Macrae lost all motor functioning immediately?
If no, why can any conclusions be drawn from the position of his head?
If yes, what was the basis for believing this?
Was there any medical advice which led to the belief that motor function was lost immediately?
Does Police Scotland believe, as stated in Annex A, that there is a link between the position of Macrae’s head (when found by witnesses) and the way in which his gun ended up in the burn?
If yes, why is that and what is the basis for that belief?
If no, why is the relevant sentence structured as it is?
What positions were his hands in when found by witnesses?
How do you explain this position?
If his hands were on his lap do the police consider this was as a result of a controlled or uncontrollable movement after the shot?
If a ‘controlled movement’, why should you believe he had control of his right arm and hand but not of his head?
If a ‘controlled movement’, what evidence is there to support this contention?
If an ‘uncontrollable movement‘, how likely is it that his right arm and hand would end up in a controlled position?
If an ‘uncontrollable movement’, should this not have led the police to reconsider suicide?
Please release all documents relevant to this article.
If you have thoughts, or more, feel free to:
email me at calumsblogATgmailDOTcom or
tweet me at @calumcarr
© CalumCarr 2014
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