On Sunday 4th of September 2011, Robert was due to start shift later in the day, but had not turned up for lunch and two of his colleagues went to look for him. They went to his room and knocked on the door but got no reply.
As Robert lived on the ground floor they both went round to his window and found the curtains to be half drawn! Because the curtains were half drawn they could look in and see his bed had not been slept in and there was no sign of Robert.
They then drove round to see if they could find him as they were concerned! (This is in the written statement)!
They stopped so one could sort out laundry.
They knocked on the door but got no reply!
We are reliably informed that to see the bed you would have to put your head inside the window.
They did not see the door?
Why would there be concern at this point?
On sorting out the laundry they got back into the car to continue their search and met a 3rd individual and returned to Campbell Block (shown in the image above). They then proceeded to check the shower room and toilets in case he had collapsed but did not find him. They then went back to his room where one of them tried the door handle and it opened approx 2 inches. They assumed he was behind the door and called his name!
On getting no response one remembers the small window being open and they all go around where one stands on another's knee and reaches in to pull the curtain back and it is then they see Robert hanging behind the door.
He then ran to the guardroom and asked them to phone 999.
Another ran to get a supervisor whilst the third stood by the window!
After giving details to the RAF Police they were sent back to work!!!
One of these three admits to not knowing Robert very well but closes his statement saying they were very good friends.
Forgive me for giving a logical observation at this point.
Why did they not check the toilets and shower room on their first visit? It may very well be that the 3rd person had more gumption than the first two, but if Robert had been for a shower it might just be sensible to assume that he may have returned to his room, so why not try there first?
Why not knock the door first?
Why not phone 999 from the scene and send another to inform the guardroom?
All trained in First Aid, but not one tried to enter to administer!
Could you go back to work having just found your close friend dead?
A doctor serving with Air Ambulance operating out of RAF Benson was directed to attend with two other paramedics, and states he could tell from looking through the window Robert was dead!
RAF Police Corporal is informed about a message received over the radio of a suspected suicide at 1215 hrs.
He remembers very clearly putting on his Hi-Viz vest and equipment belt and that he put blue lights on, on his Astra, but can't tell you who was all at the scene!
He also states he asked the first three who found Robert if they had tried to enter the room to which he was told 'it's locked'! Then sends the driver of the landrover to collect the spare key???
He confirms before attempting to enter the room he was told by the doctor and one of the paramedics that Robert was 'definitely dead'!
Failing to gain access through the door (which was ajar approx 2 inches or is it locked?), he marshalls the landrover driven by the person who is off to get the spare key, (at the suggestion of a civilian female paramedic), next to the window which he and the male paramedic used to reach the open window which the paramedic managed to enter to open a larger one. Having had to move an iron first.
Both of them proceed to enter the window leaving muddy footprints on the window-sill and floor.
The very observant policeman and the efficient paramedic proceed to - NO- not deal with Robert but the notes that are on the floor. Yes the notes first, Robert second. Well he's dead isn't he?
The paramedic gathered the notes and placed them on the window-sill, on top of the mud! However he doesn't know if the paramedic is wearing gloves!
After observing a curtain around Robert's neck and empty curtain hooks on the curtain rail he decided they should take Robert down! He puts on latex gloves and recalls the paramedic wearing some too!
They proceeded to remove Robert from the door enabling others who have been standing on the muddy ground to enter. The Doctor officially pronounces Robert dead.
In a later statement the paramedic didn't recall much about the notes, but remembers them being in the room. However he didn't read them but describes them as suicide notes because of the wording??? He didn't recall moving the notes but if the RAF Police Coprporal says he did he must have.
On the arrival of Thames Valley Police on the scene he briefs them then leaves the scene to find the firemen who found Robert and who he has sent back to work!
Later that day he is approached by two medics, (one male, one female) who tell him they were out with Robert on the previous evening.
The male medic stated Robert was talkative and his normal self!
He also stated that Robert had mentioned 'not getting on with his dad'!
The male medic then hands Robert's phone over to him and he bags it and hands it to the Thames Valley Police.
Let's look at these two medics:
We'll deal with the female medic first:
She states that she and Robert were not close friends but rather aquaintences and she hadn't known him very long.
On the night of Saturday the 3rd of September she travelled to Henley with the male medic and 2 other colleagues, where they met up with and joined Robert and his company. They had drinks together and danced a few times. She states that Robert was very happy and although he had had a few drinks was not drunk.
She also admits to being merry but not drunk. Stating that Robert was his normal self, happy and a nice guy and cheerful. There was no indication that anything was troubling him.
She and her 2 friends went to the toilet at the end of the night and came back to find the male medic on his own. The others (including Robert) having left to get a taxi back to RAF Benson.
She, her 2 friends and the male medic shared a taxi back to RAF Benson where they caught up with the others. She admits to having words with one of Roberts friends whilst recalling words between Robert and the male medic who called Robert a 'Dickead'. It soon sorted itself out she states as it was just a silly 'drunken argument'!
She then went to bed stating that was the last time she saw Robert who had never given any indication that anything was bothering him, and she had knowledge that Robert had a girlfriend.
The male medic is a completely different kettle of fish however.
The first two colleagues were constantly ringing Robert's phone which was in this medic's possession. They had been looking for Robert from approximately 1130 hrs, but he didn't come forward with Robert's phone until 1432 hrs. 3 Hours later, but he had to have someone holding his hand in that he was accompanied by the female medic.
His statement dated 4th September 2011:
On the evening of the 3rd he travelled to Henley with 3 females, admits to being drunk, has a couple of chats with Robert during the evening, and is then upset because he has to travel back to RAF Benson with the same 3 girls. Is annoyed that Robert left him there. He admits calling Robert a 'Dickhead', and then it all cooling down. He invited Robert back to his room for more drink, they sat there until approximately 0330 hrs during which time Robert bared his sole about his dad. He also states Robert seemed chilled out nothing stood out about his behaviour and was not upset at all. Robert said he had to leave as he had work later that day and got up and left to go back to his own room. This was the last he saw of Robert.
At approximately mid-day he received a call from another female medic asking if Robert was in his room as his friends were looking for him. She then called back approximately 20 minutes later to tell him Robert had been found hanged. He then found Robert's phone, and immediately took it to the RAF Police Corporal.
What he doesn't say is he went round the base with the female medic discussing the previous night before taking the phone to the police.
He states he is shocked and upset about the news of Robert's death and doesn't know of any reason why he would have done this to himself.
It is important to point out at this stage:
At the top of the witness sheet is the following statement:
"This statement consisting of (5) pages is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated in it, anything which I know to be false, or do not believe to be true.
On the 17th of October 2011 (43 days later) he was interviewed for a 3rd time and this is where it all changes.
This is his statement in full:
On September 4 2011, I made a statement to police concerning the death of Rob FLEETIMG at RAF BENSON. I now wish to make a further statement adding more detail about what happened in the early hours of Sunday 4th September 2011.
As stated in my original statement I spent the evening of September 3rd 2011 with colleagues drinking in Henley On Thames. One of these colleagues was Rob FLEETING who I knew from the base but had not been out drinking with before. The evening went well and we were all enjoying ourselves drinking and generally having a good time. There was some banter between me and some of the other guys with them making jokes about me being gay. Ron was not involved in this but may have heard it going on. We had quite a bit to drink and I would describe myself as being pleasantly drunk but still in control of myself and aware of what was going on around me. Rob had not had as much as me and was slightly less drunk and still in control and like me aware of what was going on around him. We eventually arrived back at base at about 0300 hrs on the Sunday morning where me and Rob had a slight disagreement about how we had got taxis back to base. It was a misunderstanding and was quickly sorted out without any trouble. I told Rob I was going back to my room for a beer and he came with me.
When we arrived at my room I laid on my bed and Rob sat next to me. We had a couple of beers and had quite a deep conversation. I can't remember what the conversation was about but I do recall him talking about his family. I don't quite know how it started but we began kissing. I think there was a meeting of glances that triggered and it just happened. Nothing was said or suggested by either of us, we just started kissing. We undressed ourselves. Rob ended up naked before me and we got into bed and started touching and kissing each other. Rob asked me if had any condoms and I got one for him. He put this on himself and had sex with me. I think there may have been some oral contact but I'm not sure. I did not have sex with Rob, it was just him having sex with me. I am aware that Rob had some rectal bruising but I have no idea how this occurred as I did not touch him in this area at all. It could be he had sex with someone else before me or did something to himself. I think the sex lasted fifteen or twenty minutes and when it was over I put my boxers on and Rob dressed himself. I have been asked about Rob's socks as they may be missing but I don't recall seeing them and have not noticed them in my room.
I asked Rob if he wanted to stay the night but he said he had to be at work in the morning so had better go. I kissed him before he left and he seemed fine, not at all upset or distressed in any way. I would estimate that he was in my room for one to two hours so the latest he would have left would have been around 0500-0530 hrs. At no point was Rob asleep in my room or unaware of what was going on. The sexual encounter was a 50/50 thing between us and we were both consenting to it. There was no talk of meeting up again or anything like that, it was just a spontaneous thing that was unexpected.
I was very shocked and upset to hear of Rob's death later that day and don't understand why he would do it. I can only think that he panicked about what had happened and was worried that I might say something leading to it getting out. We had not discussed either of us being gay or anything like that and I would not have said anything to anyone about what had happened. I didn't even know he had a girlfriend until after his death.
I am very worried about attending an inquest as I do not want my personal life discussed in public. I understand the need to establish why Rob died but what occurred between us is private and occurred between two consenting adults. If I am required to attend an inquest I will but only if absolutely necessary.
Who said it was a suspected suicide?
Wait a sec! Didn't they say they opened the door a couple of inches?
It's now a scene then isn't it?
Obviously not, it has to be interfered with first!
The medic states it was 6 inches here he states only 2 inches, and it's interesting to note it was the civilian female paramedic who suggested the landrover?
It is a matter of life and death after all!
Robert lads! Remember Robert! Sorry I forgot he's definitely dead!
I thought he said he didn't know!
Didn't read them but describes them as suicide because of the wording!
No they were not! They met Robert and his friends and joined their company!
How would he know? Robert didn't know him!
Why would he tell a stranger this when all his mates have said he was a very happy lad with no problems, and would have known of this!
The other lads had been ringing Robert's phone constantly.
She has already stated Robert wasn't drunk. Mind you she also said she wasn't drunk. That's not what she said at the inquest!
We can assume that this first call was made before Robert was found which would be around 1205 hrs.
That would mean the second call he received would be about 1225 - 1230 hrs. Why then did it take him another 2 hrs to take Robert's phone to the police?
The male medic lied about taking the phone to the Police immediately. He knew this to be a false statement. Prosecuted? No protected more like.
As you will see by another statement he has wilfully lied in this statement or the other one.
This is not making a further statement. It is amending the first.
So it was common knowledge he was gay!
He was quite clear in his original statement what Robert had said.
Had TVP been acting in sensible mode this could have found and checked.
He was not due to start until 1400 hrs.
An hour and a half to two hours later than the first statement.
He did though. With the female medic!
Proof he didn't know anything about Robert.
His private life was a joke to him in a bar.
He tried his hardest to get out of it.
He wrote a suicide note!
Despite the banter in the bar he's worried about his private life.
(Doesn't show in the images we have of him since Robert's death)!
Dated 26th March 2012
It is the view of the family this leads to more questions than answers.
Why the alterations in the statement?
Why over an hour after being told of Robert being found before handing a phone to the Police? This phone had been ringing constantly! He managed to hear his own!
Why did he discuss having a sexual encounter with Robert, with the female medic on a walkabout the base before going to the police with the phone? Hear the audio in Inquest!
Did he use this time to get rid of evidence! (The condom etc...)