“KELLY PATHOLOGIST DEMANDS INQUEST: LAW CHIEF TO ACT AFTER DOCTOR INSISTS ‘I’VE GOT NOTHING TO HIDE’…
Kelly pathologist demands inquest: Law chief to act after doctor insists 'I've got nothing to hide'
By Tim Shipman
Last updated at 11:35 PM on 22nd August 2010
Seven years on, David Kelly¿s death remains a source of controversy
The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, will examine 'important new evidence' about the death of Dr David Kelly after the pathologist who examined his body called yesterday for a full inquest.
Nicholas Hunt declared that a full and open hearing into the former weapons inspector's death is necessary to clear up once and for all whether he did commit suicide, as the Hutton Report ruled.
Mr Grieve, the government's chief law officer, said last week that he would consider requesting a hearing if new evidence were presented to him to 'give the public reassurance'.
Some government officials are also hopeful that a deal can be reached between Mr Grieve and Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to release the post-mortem examination, which has until now been banned from release for 70 years.
The official reason for this restriction was to protect the Kelly family from further distress but Mr Clarke does have the power to obtain and publish the hitherto classified documents.
One solution being suggested in Whitehall is for the so-called 'Kelly Files' to be published in full on the internet to allow interested parties to examine them.
But Dr Hunt, who performed the autopsy on David Kelly, threw his weight behind the call for openness. 'I would welcome an inquest,' he said. 'I've nothing to hide.'
The pathologist insisted that Dr Kelly's death was a 'textbook' case of suicide and that he had found nothing to indicate the weapons expert was murdered despite an eight-hour examination of the body.
He sought to dispel many of the theories that have built up around the case – in particular the claim that there was not enough blood at the scene to support the thesis that Dr Kelly died after slashing his wrist.
But in a boost for campaigners who want to see all the post-mortem examination papers surrounding Dr Kelly's death published, sources close to the Attorney General said he would study Dr Hunt's views.
A government source said the material from the pathologist constitutes 'important new evidence' from 'someone who would clearly be a key witness as author of the post mortem which would be an important piece of evidence'.
Dr Michael Powers QC, who is among those demanding a full inquiry, said the new claims from the pathologist simply reinforced the case for openness.
'It may or may not be a textbook suicide,' he said. 'It is just simply too difficult to tell on the basis of the evidence which was heard by Lord Hutton. That is the underlying problem.
'It is the inadequacies of the inquiry which have led to the situation we are in at present.'
Dr Powers claimed Dr Hunt had 'got clearance from the Government' to disclose details of his post-mortem report. He added: 'There should be no reason why the post-mortem report itself shouldn't be disclosed.'
Investigation: Dr Kelly's body was found near woodland at Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire, in July 2003
Dr Kelly's widow, Janice, who has maintained a dignified silence since her husband's death in July 2003, again declined to comment yesterday.
She and her family are thought not to support a new hearing. But journalist Tom Mangold, who was a close friend of the dead scientist, reinforced calls for an inquest to clear the air.
'My own feeling is that an inquest on balance will do some good,' he said. 'I am in favour of it. I never fully understood why a full inquest was not held in the first place.'
He claimed that Dr Kelly had committed suicide because he lied to a House of Commons committee about his role in the BBC expose.
'The exposure of that lie would have meant that his career would end in disgrace and he would retire a broken man in a marriage that had effectively run its course earlier.'
Dr Kelly, 59, was found dead in woods near his Oxfordshire home a week after he was identified as the source of a BBC story claiming the Government 'sexed up' its now-notorious dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
No doubts: Pathologist Nicholas Hunt said there was a lot of blood at the location where Dr Kelly's body was found and there was no sign it had been moved
Tony Blair appointed Lord Hutton to head a public inquiry into his death. The then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer ruled it should also act as an inquest.
Lord Hutton found that Dr Kelly slit his wrist and took 29 painkillers. But since then a host of medical experts have cast doubt on the verdict, questioning whether the amount of blood found with his body was sufficient loss to have killed him.
Dr Hunt's evidence suggests the Government could draw a line under the affair. He made clear he had looked for evidence of foul play, but found none.
'I felt very, very sorry for David Kelly and the way he had been treated by the government,' he said. 'I had every reason to look for something untoward and would dearly love to have found something.
'It was an absolute classic case of self-inflicted injury. You could illustrate a textbook with it.'
Dr Hunt contradicted claims that there was not enough blood.
'In actual fact there were big, thick clots of blood inside the sleeve, which came down over the wrist, and a lot of blood soaked into the ground,' he said.
The pathologist added that there was 'nothing to suggest' the body had been moved, another claim from critics of the investigation.
Lord Hutton's order: 70 years of secrecy
By Daniel Martin Political Correspondent
Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, is refusing to open the files, saying it would be 'extremely unusual'
Lord Hutton controversially placed a 70-year ban on the publication of secret files relating to the death of David Kelly.
The man who led the inquiry into the death of the government scientist ordered that the post-mortem examination report and other sensitive medical notes be locked in a Whitehall safe for seven decades.
It means that, by the time they are released in 2074, everyone involved will almost certainly have died. Even the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, is refusing to open the files, saying it would be 'extremely unusual' even though he has the legal power to demand access.
Lord Hutton said he imposed the gagging order at the conclusion of his inquiry to avoid further heartache for Dr Kelly's widow and children. But he said he would have been happy for doctors challenging the official verdict of suicide – and their legal advisers – to see the post-mortem papers.
It means that the public will still not be able to see the details. Earlier this year, Lord Hutton said: 'At the conclusion of my inquiry, I requested that the post-mortem report relating to his death should not be disclosed for 70 years as I was concerned that the publication of that report in newspapers, books and magazines would cause his daughters and his wife further and unnecessary distress.
'Much of the material in the post-mortem report had been given in oral evidence in public at the inquiry and substantial parts of that evidence had been set out in my report.
'However, I would consider that disclosure of the report to doctors and their legal advisers for the purposes of legal proceedings would not undermine the protection which I wished to give to Dr Kelly's family, provided that conditions were imposed restricting the use and publication of the report to such proceedings.'
Post-mortem reports are not usually available to members of the public – only to interested parties such as family and insurers.
The doubts and how he responds to them
By Neil Sears
Seven years ago, Home Office pathologist Nicholas Hunt was summoned to examine the body of Dr David Kelly. Only now, amid mounting claims that the death was suspicious, has he broken his silence. Here, we detail how the pathologist attempts to rebut the doubts which have been raised.
'Textbook case': Pathologist Nicholas Hunt has said he found no signs of murder on the body of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly
'There was little blood at scene' A group of doctors has claimed the official finding that Dr Kelly died of blood loss was 'unsafe' – largely because it has been suggested that surprisingly little blood was found at the scene compared with the minimum of four pints they would expect.
In addition, Detective Constable Graham Coe, the first policeman to arrive, has said: 'I certainly didn't see a lot of blood anywhere. There was some on his left wrist but it wasn't on his clothes. On the ground, there wasn't much blood about, if any.'
There was plenty of blood – it was either hidden or had soaked into the ground, says Dr Hunt. As well as bloodstains inside the left sleeve of the scientist's Barbour jacket, there were more on the right knee of his jeans and the lining of his flat cap.
'Nobody would have seen the amount of blood at the scene. In actual fact there were big, thick clots of blood inside the sleeve, which came down over the wrist, and a lot of blood soaked into the ground.
They [DC Coe and the paramedics] might not have seen it, but it was there and I noted it in my report.'
'The body had been moved' Volunteer searchers who found Dr Kelly's body are said to have described him as being propped up against a tree – but when the police turned up he was lying on the ground. Former KGB agent Boris Karpichkov last month claimed an MI5 agent had suggested to him that Dr Kelly had been murdered elsewhere by an MI6 hit squad before his body was moved to the woodland spot.
Dr Hunt says: 'There was nothing to suggest the body had been moved. It didn't look like a dump site.'
'The ulnar artery slashed in Dr Kelly's left wrist was too small to have caused him to bleed to death'. Critics add that the wound would have clotted, meaning any bleeding would have stopped long before death could occur.
Dr Hunt says he found up to a dozen cuts on Dr Kelly's wrist, each around 2in to 3in long, one of which opened the ulnar artery. 'Some cuts were very shallow, some were deeper and deeper, which is typical of someone feeling their way. You have a knife, apply light pressure and realise that it actually takes a bit more effort and you get more bold as your resolve increases. It's one of the classic features of self-inflicted injury.' He adds that there was clear evidence Dr Kelly repeatedly dislodged clots or scabs to ensure he continued bleeding. 'His wrist was red so he must have been doing this for some time.'
'Even without blood clotting, the ulnar artery is so thin that it would have contracted and closed up before he could have bled to death.' According to the doctors, the ulnar artery is only the width of a matchstick, meaning it would have quickly retracted.
Dr Hunt says that unknown to Dr Kelly, he was suffering from a severe form of heart disease – atherosclerosis – which had left his arteries as little as a fifth as wide as normal. This left him at constant risk of heart attack and more likely to die from a slashed wrist, as his heart had reduced ability to survive sudden blood loss. If he had dropped dead in the canteen and you had seen his coronary arteries, you would have had a very good reason to believe that was the only reason he died. If you have narrow arteries, your ability to withstand blood loss falls dramatically.'
'Lord Hutton's claim that Dr Kelly's death was hastened by an overdose of 29 co-proxamol painkillers, normally used for arthritis, is not credible, as he did not take enough to kill, and the amount of the drug found in his body was way below fatal levels.'
Co-proxamol contains a synthetic opiate which can cause an irregular heartbeat – and lead to a heart attack. It has been blamed for up to 400 deaths a year, through accident or suicide. Its dangers are so well accepted that four years after Dr Kelly's death co-proxamol was withdrawn from the market. DOUBT 'Dr Kelly was not physically capable of cutting his own wrist' According to Dr Kelly's colleague and friend Mai Pedersen, from the U.S. Air Force, injuries to the scientist's right arm had left him so weak that he even 'had difficulty cutting his own steak'.
Dr Hunt found no indications that Dr Kelly's right hand was too weak for cutting either a steak, or his own left wrist – and the numerous parallel cuts made were entirely consistent with countless undisputed suicides. 'It's one of the classic features of self-inflicted injury.'
'Dr Kelly's work seeking weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had made him unpopular there – and he had influential enemies in Britain thanks to his revelations about the Government's 'dodgy dossier'.
Dr Hunt says: 'As a forensic pathologist whenever you arrive at a scene you treat it as a homicide until you can be satisfied you've excluded that.' Accordingly, in eight hours of examination he sought any signs of injury to Dr Kelly indicating that he might have been manhandled or drugged by someone else.
'We look at every millimetre of skin. We're looking for any needle puncture marks and so forth, any sign of skulduggery – between the fingers, the toes, under the nose, behind the ears, here, there and everywhere.
'There wasn't anything. You look through every muscle layer, particularly the neck to see if there's any evidence that it has been compressed, any signs of trauma on the ribs and any broken bone. There were none at all.'
Further samples sent for analysis found no evidence Dr Kelly had been drugged with, for example, Rohypnol. Dr Hunt adds: 'The only thing I could never exclude is that someone held a gun to his head and told him to slit his own wrists and eat a load of co-proxamol.'“
CASO.- DR. DAVID KELLY: EL MIEDO NO ANDA EN BURRO…
Sin duda, es un asunto muy peligroso...
¿Qué patchouly con la venda...?
Desfachatez y dolosamente grave el abuso de autoridad que impregna la decisión del gobierno inglés de encriptar los archivos de la investigación del supuesto homicidio del Dr. David Kelly… Corrupción e impunidad galopante que la comunidad internacional sin excepción debe repudiar y demandar la apertura de dichos archivos de lo Criminal…
(Is Güicho Pedales playing drums ...?)
"Full report into the death of Dr David Kelly"
"El resistirse a lo irresistible no siempre fortalece a quienes se creen irresistibles, sí, a aquell@s que ‘no mandan obedeciendo a sus mandantes’… Fideiius.
"Noam Chomsky*: Estados Unidos es el mayor terrorista del mundo..."
Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology*
“We don’t do body counts”.- General Tommy Franks
"Hey, bad guys: If it is certain that you in God trust, you should not be afraid, just let the music play…!”. FIDEIIUS (Fideiius).
ACCESO AL AGUA POTABLE, DECLARADO DERECHO FUNDAMENTAL: TRIUNFO DE LA HUMANIDAD A INSTANCIA DE EVO MORALES, C. PRESIDENTE CONSTITUCIONAL DE LA REPúBLICA DE BOLIVIA…
A FREE K’