Friday, July 28, 2006 4:46 PM
David Kelly did not commit suicide and may have been the victim of a murder and subsequent coverup, according to a campaigning MP.
Norman Baker has spent six months investigating the death of the Government weapons expert, found dead in an Oxfordshire wood three years ago.
Mr Baker – who stepped down from the Liberal Democrat front bench to carry out his investigation – published his preliminary results and called for a new public inquiry.
His concerns begin with the method of Dr Kelly’s supposed suicide, cutting a minor artery with a blunt gardening knife.
He would have been the only person that year to have successfully killed themselves that way in the UK.
The scientist’s family and friends insist he had shown no sign of feeling suicidal. Emails and the minutes of meetings he attended also showed him behaving perfectly normally – and he was looking forward to his daughter’s wedding.
Mr Baker also questions the painkillers Dr Kelly is said to have taken, not least because the levels found in his stomach were incompatible with his supposed consumption.
There are also basic questions about the police investigation – including the appearance beside Dr Kelly’s body of a bottle of water, knife and watch which the people who found him say they did not see.
On the Hutton Inquiry itself, Mr Baker – whose conclusions were outlined in the Mail on Sunday – says Lord Hutton was completely out of his depth.
He had never chaired such an important inquiry and had a history of making pro-Government decisions as a judge. The MP claims Hutton was personally selected for the job by Tony Blair’s close friend Charles Falconer, the Lord Chancellor.
The tragic story began in May 2003 when BBC radio journalist Andrew Gilligan alleged that the Government had deliberately ‘sexed up’ a dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify an invasion.
The Government went on the offensive and eventually exposed Dr Kelly as the BBC man’s source, a move which thrust the publicity-shy scientist into a media storm.
Days later, the 59-year-old father of three was found slumped under a tree five miles from his home in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
‘More than enough cause to reopen the inquest’ – Baker
The Government immediately set up an inquiry under Lord Hutton to investigate the death. The two-month probe concluded that the scientist had taken his own life.
Mr Baker has consistently been a thorn in the Government’s side. He previously revealed former minister Peter Mandelson’s links to the Hinduja brothers, who were granted British passports shortly after investing money to the Millennium Dome.
He claimed that since the Hutton Inquiry concluded, there has been ‘growing public disquiet’ about Dr Kelly’s death.
He said: “Any reasonable person looking at the evidence would, at the very least, agree that further investigation is necessary.
“If it wasn’t suicide, then clearly Dr Kelly was bumped off. My aim is to find out exactly what happened. Frankly, there is more than enough cause to reopen the inquest.”
Mr Baker’s investigation comes after three senior doctors claimed the official cause of death – a severed ulnar artery in the wrist – was extremely unlikely to be fatal.
David Halpin, Stephen Frost and Searle Sennett said: “Arteries in the wrist are of matchstick thickness and severing them does not lead to life-threatening blood loss.”
Mr Baker said that, according to the Office for National Statistics, Dr Kelly was the only person in 2003 to kill themselves that way. He says a scientist would have cut a larger artery, ensuring a swift death.
Although Dr Kelly was facing intense pressure over his exposure as the BBC source, Mr Baker produces evidence that he did not appear depressed.
Two days before his death, he made jokes at a Government committee meeting. On the day he disappeared, he spoke of returning to Iraq in the future.
He was a member of the Baha’i faith, which forbids suicide, and one of his daughters was about to marry. Dr Kelly’s sister Sarah Pape, a consultant plastic surgeon, told the Hutton Inquiry: “In my line of work I deal with people who may have suicidal thoughts, and I ought to be able to spot those even in a phone conversation.
“But I have gone over in my mind the two conversations we had and he certainly did not betray to me any impression that he was anything other than tired.
“He certainly did not convey to me that he was feeling depressed and absolutely nothing that would have alerted me to the fact that he may have been considering suicide.”
An inquest into Dr Kelly’s death was opened, but never concluded as the Hutton Inquiry was deemed to have served the same purpose. Mr Baker criticises this decision, arguing that, unlike an inquest, the Hutton Inquiry did not have the power to subpoena witnesses or make them give evidence under oath.
He says: “What was the point of setting up an inquiry to look into the circumstances of Dr Kelly’s death when the facts had, it appeared, already been decided?”
Peter Jacobsen, solicitor for Dr Kelly’s widow, said the family would not comment.
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46 people have commented on this story so far.
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I tend to agree, I was never happy with the story of suicide, it did not add up.
– John, exeter, England
When Tony Blair meets his maker, he has a lot to as forgiveness for – I hope he is not forgiven.
– Karen, Ex Pat
This whole affair stinks from start to finish. A lot of reasonably intelligent people in the UK probably feel the same way.
– Darren Marsh, Chessington, Surrey
I never believed in the Hutton report. Dr Kelly was viewed as the culprit by the government and yet they are the ones appointing an investigator. Fox guarding the hen house.
– Nathan, Milwaukee,Wisconsin
Norman Baker’s points are all very good but one thing has been left out. In a special report published by the Daily Mail on Saturday 6th March 2004 by Sue Reid it stated in the third paragraph: ‘Even before Lord Hutton’s historic judgment, Mai Pederson, an American army intelligence officer and confidante of Dr. Kelly, said the scientist would never have taken his own life. More intriguingly, she explained that he hated all types of pill. He even had trouble swallowing a headache tablet.’
– Louise Mclean, London
Norman Baker MP gives a series of compelling reasons for doubting that Dr David Kelly committed suicide. But who murdered him? Who stood to profit from his death? The government certainly did not. The immediate result was an acute political crisis for Tony Blair. Even with the appointment of the “safe” Lord Hutton in charge, Blair had no guarantee that the Hutton inquiry would clear him and as it happened the evidence given to the inquiry did lasting damage to his reputation. Moreover, if a professional killer had murdered Dr Kelly would he not have made a more convincing appearance of suicide?
– Richard, London, England
With plausable deniability and spin I wouldn’t put anything past this Blair Government.
– Mike, Denia,Spain
The truth will never be known.
– Peter, London
How obvious was it that Dr Kelly’s death was not suicide.
– Helen, uk
The whole episode is indeed a bit ‘smelly’ and should be independently investigated.
– Freddie, Northants
Considering how much blood this government has on its hands through incompetence and design, a lot of people might figure this was murder.
– Ryk, London
One poster asks what would the Government have to gain. Dr Kelly was not a ‘middle’ ranking civil servant he was depicted as in the ‘spin’. He was the worlds expert on WMD, who had sat alongside Tony Blair in briefings. He was privy to vasts amounts of information on The Russians, the Iranians, as well as Iraq. When someone is cornered and has integrity they will come out fighting. Whilst the enquiry did some damage, further disclosures by Dr Keyy would probably have destroyed Blairs Government. I have no doubts he was murdered, at the behest of who? Make your own minds up.
– Robert Feal-Martinez, Swindon, England
I totally agree with the above as I considered from the first sighting of the Hutton report that it was complete whitewash. I was also appalled at the manner of questioning when Dr Kelly was before the original committee. Those who questioned him ought to hang their heads in shame.
– J.Fleming, St.Neot, Cambs.
I agree with Mr Baker too many things dont add up. Sadly I doubt if the truth will ever come out and we have lost a very clever man to help keep this trash running the country in office. It is my opinion that they where afraid of what may come out through Dr Kelly so he was killed like many of our troops on Blairs orders in a unjust war.
– K Harrop, herts;
Yes, let’s have an independant enquiry, Mr Baker should press for this. If the Government have nothing to hide then they have everything to gain.
– Brian, England
This case just stinks from top to bottom.
– Gordon Myatt, Swansea UK
If it was not suicide, then it can only have been a murder! If it was murder, who would have the motive and opportunity?
Doesn’t bear thinking about does it.
– Thomas, Dubai
Dr Kelly had the ‘guts’ to speak out. That alone makes nonsense of his so called suicide.
I feel so sad for his family.
– Molly, Oxford
We will never know what actually happened but one thing is for sure, with such a corrupt Goverment in place, anything is possible.
– B.Baker, Spalding, England
I’ve always believed this scientist was murdered by the establishment. Tony Blair was proved a liar when he denied he had anything to do with the naming of this man and then admitted it under pressure from a journalist. Like this lying incompetent government the whole thing is a charade!
– Brian James, Alhaurin El Grande, Spain
I agree that the Inquest into David Kelly’s death should be re-opened. The Hutton Inquiry was a total whitewash. The two people who discovered David Kelly’s body stated it was slumped against a tree. Shortly after the discovery three policemen appeared who were not part of the official search team. The three policemen stayed with the body until more police arrived. From then on everyone who saw the body stated it to be in a supine position with the head at the base of the tree. Why had the body been moved? At the Hutton Inquiry one of the three policemen stated there was only one other person with him. Who was the third person? The two paramedics who attended the site were concerned about the lack of blood at the scene. There are too many inconsitencies concerning this case, so keep on pushing Mr Baker.
– Stuart Jessop, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Just another cover up by the ‘mafia’ of a government. How much longer are we going to put up with lies and deciet?
– Jacqueline Butterworth, England
Only a haemophiliac would bleed to death from a severed artery in the wrist. The body has wonderful mechanisms in place to deal with that type of injury and would have stopped the bleeding very quickly indeed. To my mind the crucial, yet unanswered question is, ‘How much blood did Dr Kelly actually lose’? The painkillers certainly didn’t kill him therefore the area around him would have had to be positively swimming in blood.
– Midge Curry, Bakewell, England
There is definitely more than reasonable doubt that Doctor Kelly’s death was suspicious.
– Frank Sweeney, Chalgrove Oxfordshire
It’s very doubtful if the general public will ever find out the true facts surrounding David Kelly’s death.
The whole thing stinks of a cover up from on high. Blair and his cronies picked Hutton to lead the investigation into the death was because they knew he would reach the “right” conclusion.
– Stratford, Hants.
This is most likely another example of what I know as “the time value of the truth”.
Most enquiries of this nature are now aimed at simply putting off the time when the truth might out. That is why semi-competent procrastinators are usually chosen to lead them (with as little knowledge of the issues as possible), difficulties are thrown in the way about access to witnesses etc. The theory is that a holding exercise will satisfy the great British public and it usually does. By the time a report is produced, many people have forgotten the issues. Lots of rumblings take place, but a form of investigation has been followed.
Then several years later the truth starts to seep out. But it is usually too late for a real investigation to take place and the guilty get away with it.
That is our cynical shadowy democracy in action and how many times have we seen it recently? Until we manage to recover our democracy we are probably all at risk.
– Tom, Bedfordshire
If there is any doubt whatsoever with how this poor man died it should be investigated and whoever was responsible charged and brought before a court. If a mans life has become so unimportant in this country we have allowed ourselves to be lead to a sorry place. It’s time that the truth surrounding Dr Kelly’s death together with the connection to the war in Iraq was made clear.
– Mike, Coventry
As was said sometime ago about a certain other matter, there are dark forces about of which we have no knowledge.
– Sandra, Grimsby
The death of David Kelly is a tragedy – for his family, for his country and for the world. As much as I understand the interest in his death for those of you that never had the honour of knowing him, I would like to remind you that above all, David was a human being and not just a great dinner conversation topic.
– Anonymous, Durham
Having watched Dr Kelly being ‘grilled’ by the Select Committee before his death, I was extremely distressed and disturbed at the appalling way he was being questioned. His name should never have become public; Andrew Gilligan was right in what he said and the BBC gave in to the Government bullies. Yes, there is something deeply suspicious about Dr Kelly’s demise and the ‘smoking gun’ points straight at the Government.
– Anne Smith, France
This has a ring of “Who will rid me of this troublesome scientist?” about it.
– Steve H, London
The past 4 years would be enough to make any thinking person give up on the political processs. But then people like Norman Baker come along and restore your faith in the human race a little more. David Kelly was also one of those people. The day I heard of his death will go down as one of those days you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing. I don’t think the leaders of this government know the meaning of the word shame but fortunately some of us still do. I wish with all my heart that the truth of this matter is exposed – together with the real reasons we went to war in Iraq!
– C Duval, Windsor
How long now before Norman Baker has a mysterious ‘accident’?
– Jan, London
I remember quite a few months ago, on a Sunday, two ambulance personnel appeared on the evening news stating that they did not belive Dr Kellys death was suicide. They were the two personnel who attended the scene. I never saw any follow up news reports on this matter, neither did I see follow up newspaper reports. They stated that the amount of drugs taken by Doctor Kelly was not enough to kill him, even with the wrist wounds. I remember thinking how admirable it was for them to come out fighting and how sad it was that it would not come to anything.
It is an absolute travesty to say that this man committed suicide.
– Alex, Reading
The enquiry skated over any reconciliation between the number of Coproximol tablets missing from Mrs Kelly’s bathroom and such residue remaining in Dr Kelly’s system, not withstanding that this was brought to their attention. The enquiry should be reopened.
– Paul Irby, London, United Kingdom
Anonymous I am sure I am not alone in being surprised at your post. You are correct we did not have the privilege of knowing Dr Kelly, but there is not a post on this article, that in anyway makes him any less than a hero to stand up to Government. We are all calling for justice for him and his family. This is not dinner party gossip this is real concern for a man who we all believe was murdered for knowing too much.
– Robert Feal-Martinez, Swindon, England
In “The Gathering Storm” a film about Churchill between the wars, a Civil Servant giving him information to use in Parliament against the Government is given the ultimatum by a superior. Commit suicide and your widow will receive a pension. If we prosecute she will not. When I saw the film a few months ago the apparent parallel to Dr Kelly was unmistakable.
– Stephen Argles, Bromborough, Wirral
I watched with disgust the harassment of Dr. Kelly by some bullies on the Select Committee and I saw how superior he was, both in intellect and integrity, to his tormentors. After that display, I didn’t expect any report emanating from an inquiry set up by the government to be impartial, so I did not believe it – neither did anyone else I spoke to at the time. I really hope Mr. Norman Baker will receive the support from MPs necessary to establish another, independent, inquiry into the matter. Only greater transparency
concerning the activities of our government will restore confidence in the democratic system, dented by the presidential style of the prime minister at No.10.
– Eric, Swansea
What the pro-war lobby hoped for from Kelly was that his appearance in front of the committee would establish that (a) he was the Gilligan source and that (b) Gilligan had misrepresented his views.
When Kelly denied that he was the source he became instantly nothing but a liabilty to those who wanted us to go to war. Ironically Kelly was pro-war, and furthermore in a BBC interview which pre-dates Gilligan’s he was recording using the phrase ‘made sexier’.
The suspicious circumstances of his death demand a proper inquest.
– David Cox, London, England
When Dr. Kelly died, Mr. Blair was somewhere in the ‘far-east’. He was giving an interview at the time the news broke and a reporter asked the Prime-Minister “Have you got blood on your hands?”. The look on Blairs face, was that of the boy caught with his hands in the biscuit tin.
– Mike Thompson, UK
I have watched the dramatised story of Dr Kelly, read several articles about him and seen him being interviewed on TV.
I have to ask why would an educated man with a analytical mind, decide to end his lfe in such an haphazard way? I am sure he would have thought of a more certain and speedily way to die. And walking five miles to do it?
Who would benefit from his death? Why would it be necessary to silence him?
Dark conspiracies or bungling on a lethal scale? This case should be fully investigated, openly, but that may never happen.
– John Knowles, Canada
We’ve never had an answer to the question about the phone call he received just before he went out… was he lured to the spot?
– Samantha Jones, Bucks
Well said Alex !
I too saw the paramedics on TV a while ago and was impressed with their obvious sincerity and total bewilderment at the ‘wrong’ conclusions being brought in.
This alone demands a proper inquiry.
– Evelyn Arslan, England
Nothing would surprise me about how low this government would stoop to cling on to power.
– Robert Newton, UK
Totally agree with the comments made on this board. A proper enquiry must be demanded.
– Carol Gibbs, Northern Cyprus
Norman Baker is correct in doubting the “suicide” of Dr David Kelly.
An initial report transmitted in France showed the “scene of crime” tent about 5 to 10 metres from the wooded area. There was an un-cordoned space between this tent and the tree-line where anybody could have interfered intentionally or accidentally.
Subsequent reporting from paramedics and others cast doubts on the whole scene and findings!
The Hutton Enquiry “scope was Establishment dictated” and needed the “witnesses” under oath.
Certain persons were permitted to give their accounts via video links but Dr Kelly’s widow made to appear in person. She behaved impeccably and very composed. Unlike the professional politicians and spin-doctors.
It was inevitable that the resulting findings would be “as required by the Establishment”.
Keep digging Mr Baker and uncover the truth! The probability of suicide is as probable as WMD’s in Iraq or of pigs flying.
– Ian, Letchworth UK