David Kelly (weapons expert)

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David Kelly

David Kelly 2000s.jpg
David Christopher Kelly

(1944-05-14)14 May 1944
Rhondda, Wales
Died17 July 2003(2003-07-17) (aged 59)
Oxfordshire, England
Cause of deathPresumed suicide: haemorrhage from incised wounds of the left wrist, in combination with coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis [1]
Body discoveredHarrowdown Hill, Longworth, Oxfordshire
Alma mater
OccupationSpecialist in biological warfare; UN weapons inspector in Iraq
EmployerBritish Ministry of Defence
Janice Vawdrey(m. 1967)

David Christopher Kelly CMG (14 May 1944 – 17 July 2003) was a Welsh scientist and authority on biological warfare, employed by the British Ministry of Defence, and formerly a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq. He came to public attention in July 2003 when an unauthorised discussion he had off the record with BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan about the UK Government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was cited by Gilligan and led to a major controversy. Kelly's name became known to the media as Gilligan's source and he was called to appear on 15 July before a parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee investigating the issues Gilligan had reported. Kelly was questioned aggressively about his actions. He was found dead two days later. [2]

Biological warfare use of biological toxins or infectious agents with the intent to kill or otherwise neutralize enemies as an act of war

Biological warfare (BW)—also known as germ warfare—is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi with the intent to kill or incapacitate humans, animals or plants as an act of war. Biological weapons are living organisms or replicating entities that reproduce or replicate within their host victims. Entomological (insect) warfare is also considered a type of biological weapon. This type of warfare is distinct from nuclear warfare and chemical warfare, which together with biological warfare make up NBC, the military initialism for nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare using weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). None of these are considered conventional weapons, which are deployed primarily for their explosive, kinetic, or incendiary potential.

Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom) United Kingdom government department responsible for implementing the defence policy

The Ministry of Defence is the British government department responsible for implementing the defence policy set by Her Majesty's Government and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces.

United Nations Special Commission Wikimedia list article

United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) was an inspection regime created by the United Nations to ensure Iraq's compliance with policies concerning Iraqi production and use of weapons of mass destruction after the Gulf War. Between 1991 and 1997 its director was Rolf Ekéus; from 1997 to 1999 its director was Richard Butler.


UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's government set up the Hutton Inquiry, a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Kelly's death. The inquiry concluded that Kelly had committed suicide, with the cause of death as "haemorrhage due to incised wounds of the left wrist" in combination with "coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis". Lord Hutton also decided that evidence related to the death, including the post-mortem report and photographs of the body, should remain classified for seventy years. In October 2010, Hutton claimed that he had done so to protect Kelly's wife and daughters from the distress of further media reports about the death, saying: "My request was not a concealment of evidence because every matter of relevance had been examined or was available for examination during the public inquiry. There was no secrecy surrounding the postmortem report because it had always been available for examination and questioning by counsel representing the interested parties during the inquiry." [3]

Tony Blair Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 1997. As of 2017, Blair is the last British Labour Party leader to have won a general election.

The Hutton Inquiry was a 2003 judicial inquiry in the UK chaired by Lord Hutton, who was appointed by the Labour government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, a biological warfare expert and former UN weapons inspector in Iraq.

Dextropropoxyphene chemical compound

Dextropropoxyphene is an analgesic in the opioid category, patented in 1955 and manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. It is an optical isomer of levopropoxyphene. It is intended to treat mild pain and also has antitussive and local anaesthetic effects. The drug has been taken off the market in Europe and the US due to concerns of fatal overdoses and heart arrhythmias. Its onset of analgesia is said to be 20–30 minutes and peak effects are seen about 1.5–2.0 hours after oral administration.

In 2009, Hutton's verdict was challenged by a group of British doctors who had not had access to the evidence, including Michael Powers, who is also a barrister and former coroner. Offering their opinion based on published reports that the cause of death was untenable, they argued that the artery is small and difficult to access, and severing it would not have triggered sufficient blood loss to cause death. This opinion was challenged by several forensic pathologists who also had not had access to the evidence, who told The Guardian that the combination of Kelly's heart disease and the overdose would have meant a smaller loss of blood could have killed him than would be needed to kill a healthier person. [1] In August 2010, former Leader of the Conservative Party Michael Howard called for a full inquest, [1] and Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General for England and Wales, confirmed that he was considering re-opening it. [4]

Michael Howard British politician

Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from November 2003 to December 2005. He previously held cabinet positions in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Secretary of State for Employment, Secretary of State for the Environment and Home Secretary.

Dominic Grieve British politician

Dominic Charles Roberts GrievePC is a British Conservative politician, barrister, Queen's Counsel and a Member of the Privy Council. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Beaconsfield since 1997, and served as Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to July 2014, attending Cabinet. He left the office of Attorney General as part of the Cabinet reshuffle of 14 July 2014, and was replaced by Jeremy Wright.

Attorney General for England and Wales Law officer of the Monarch of England and Wales

Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known simply as the Attorney General (A-G), is one of the Law Officers of the Crown. The Attorney General serves as the chief legal adviser to the Crown and the Government in England and Wales, and though they maintain their own office, they are still subordinate to the Cabinet-level Secretary of State for Justice. The Solicitor General for England and Wales serves as the next in command and is subordinate to the Attorney General.

In October 2010, the postmortem, including the pathologist's 14-page report and the six-page toxicology report, was made public, re-iterating the conclusion of the Hutton report. [3] Powers maintains that questions remain about the amount of blood found at the scene and the number of pills taken.

Early life

Kelly was born in Rhondda, Wales. He graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc and subsequently obtained an MSc at the University of Birmingham. In 1971, he received his doctorate in microbiology from Linacre College, Oxford for thesis titled The replication of some iridescent viruses in cell cultures. In 1984, he joined the civil service working at what is now Dstl Porton Down as head of the Defence Microbiology Division. He moved from there to work as an ad hoc advisor to the MoD and the Foreign Office.

Rhondda Valley region in Wales

Rhondda, or the Rhondda Valley, is a former coal mining area in South Wales, previously in Glamorgan, and now a local government district, consisting of 16 communities built around the River Rhondda. The Rhondda is actually two valleys—the larger Rhondda Fawr valley and the smaller Rhondda Fach valley. The singular term 'Rhondda Valley' and the plural 'Rhondda Valleys' are both commonly used. In 2001, the Rhondda constituency of the National Assembly for Wales had a population of 72,443; while the National Office of Statistics described the Rhondda urban area as having a population of 59,602. Rhondda is part of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough and is part of the South Wales Valleys.

University of Leeds university in England

The University of Leeds is a public research university in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was established in 1874 as the Yorkshire College of Science. In 1884 it merged with the Leeds School of Medicine and was renamed Yorkshire College. It became part of the federal Victoria University in 1887, joining Owens College and University College Liverpool. In 1903 a royal charter was granted to the University of Leeds by King Edward VII.

University of Birmingham university in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom. Being one of the most elite school of UK higher education, It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Queen's College, Birmingham and Mason Science College, making it the first English civic or 'red brick' university to receive its own royal charter. It is a founding member of both the Russell Group of British research universities and the international network of research universities, Universitas 21.


In 1989, Kelly was involved in investigations into Soviet violations of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and was a key member of the inspection team visiting the USSR and former Soviet states on several occasions 1991 and 1994. His experience with biological weapons at Porton Down led to his selection as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq following the end of the Gulf War. Kelly's work as a member of the UNSCOM team led him to visit Iraq thirty-seven times, and his success in uncovering Iraq's biological weapons programme led to Rolf Ekéus nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize. [5] He was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1996. Although he was never a member of the intelligence services, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) regularly sought his opinion on Iraq and other issues. Kelly became a member of the Bahá'í Faith around 1999. He was introduced to this faith by Mai Pederson, a US military linguist and intelligence operative. [6]

Biological Weapons Convention Treaty banning production of bioweapons

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning the production of an entire category of weapons.

Iraq Republic in Western Asia

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest and Syria to the west. The capital, and largest city, is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians and Kawliya. Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism and Mandeanism also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Gulf War 1990–1991 war between Iraq and Coalition Forces

The Gulf War, codenamed Operation Desert Shield for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production disputes. The war is also known under other names, such as the Persian Gulf War, First Gulf War, Gulf War I, Kuwait War, First Iraq War or Iraq War, before the term "Iraq War" became identified instead with the 2003 Iraq War.

WMD dossier

Kelly's career specialisation led to confusion about his actual job as he was frequently seconded to other departments. His job description included liaising with the media, and he regularly acted as a confidential source, although he rarely went on the record or appeared on-camera. In 2002, he was working for the Defence Intelligence Staff at the time of the compilation of a dossier by the Joint Intelligence Committee on the weapons of mass destruction possessed by Iraq. The government had commissioned the dossier as an element of the preparation for what later became the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Although he was not responsible for writing any part of the dossier, Kelly's experience of weapons inspections led to his being asked to proofread sections of the draft dossier on the history of inspections. Kelly was unhappy with some of the claims in the draft, particularly a claim originating from August 2002 that Iraq was capable of firing battlefield biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of an order to use them (known as "the 45-minute claim"). Kelly's colleagues queried the inclusion of the claim, but their superiors were satisfied when they took it up with MI6 through the Joint Intelligence Committee.

Kelly believed it was most likely that Iraq had retained some biological weapons after the end of inspections. [7] After the end of the ground war, he was invited to join the inspection team attempting to find any trace of weapons of mass destruction programmes and was apparently enthusiastic about resuming his work there. He made two attempted trips to Iraq. The first was on 19 May 2003 when he was prevented from entering Iraq from Kuwait because he did not have the proper documents.

The second trip was from 5 June 2003 to 11 June 2003 when Kelly went to view and photograph two alleged mobile weapons laboratories as a part of a third inspection team. Kelly was unhappy with the description of the trailers and spoke off the record to The Observer , which, on 15 June 2003, quoted "a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq". He said:

They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were – facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons. [8]

It was confirmed in the Hutton Inquiry that Kelly was the source of this quote. [9]

Contact with Andrew Gilligan

On 22 May 2003, at the Charing Cross Hotel in London, Kelly met Andrew Gilligan, a BBC journalist who had spent some time writing about the war in Baghdad. Kelly was anxious to learn what had happened in Iraq, while Gilligan, who had discussed a very early draft of the dossier with Kelly, wished to ask him about it in light of the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction. They agreed to talk on an unattributable basis, which allowed the BBC to report what was said but not to identify the source. Kelly told Gilligan of his concerns over the 45-minute claim and allegedly ascribed its inclusion in the dossier to Alastair Campbell, the director of communications for Tony Blair.

Gilligan broadcast his report on 29 May 2003 on the Today programme , in which he said that the 45-minute claim had been placed in the dossier by the government, even though it knew the claim was dubious. In a subsequent article in The Mail on Sunday newspaper, Gilligan directly identified Alastair Campbell as the person responsible. The story caused a political storm with the government denying any involvement in the intelligence content of the dossier. The government pressed the BBC to reveal the name of the source because it knew that any source who was not a member of the Joint Intelligence Committee would not have known who had a role in the preparation of the dossier.

As the political fight ensued, Kelly knew he had talked to the journalist involved but felt that he had not said exactly what was reported. He also told his friend and colleague Olivia Bosch that his meeting with Andrew Gilligan had been "unauthorised" and therefore outside his terms of employment. On 30 June 2003, he wrote to his line manager at the Ministry of Defence to report his contact with Gilligan though he added "I am convinced that I am not his primary source of information."

Kelly was interviewed twice by his employers who concluded that they could not be sure he was Gilligan's only source. Eventually they took the decision to publicly acknowledge that an employee had come forward who might be the source. The announcement contained sufficient clues for alert journalists to guess Kelly's identity, and the Ministry of Defence confirmed the name when it was put to them. It usually refuses to comment on such matters, and it was alleged by some critics of the government that the Ministry of Defence was implementing a government decision to reveal Kelly's name as part of a strategy to discredit Gilligan. Andrew Rawnsley has claimed that Blair on 8 July sanctioned a strategy designed to reveal Kelly's identity; [10] Lord Hutton found that the decision was only to confirm that a civil servant had come forward, without giving a name, because there was uncertainty that Kelly was in fact Gilligan's source. [11]

Kelly was extremely disturbed that the media[ citation needed ] had identified his role in the matter and arranged with a family friend to leave his home and visit Cornwall with his wife. He was asked to appear as a witness before two committees of the House of Commons that were investigating the situation in Iraq and was further upset by the news that one of the appearances would be in public. He had been given a formal warning by the Ministry of Defence for an unauthorised meeting with a journalist and had been made to understand that they might take more action if it turned out he had been lying to them.

Appearance before House of Commons committees

When he appeared before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on 15 July 2003, [12] Kelly appeared to be under severe stress which was probably increased by the televising of the proceedings. He spoke with a voice so soft that the air-conditioning equipment had to be turned off even though it was one of the hottest days of the year. [13] His evidence to the committee was that he had not said the things Gilligan had reported his source as saying, and members of the committee came to the conclusion that he had not been the source. [14] Some of the questioning was very precise. The Labour MP Andrew MacKinlay, in particular, used a forceful tone in his cross-examination. For example, when asked to simply list the journalists that he met, Kelly declined to answer and requested that such a list be sought from the MoD, which triggered a response: "...This is the high court of Parliament and I want you to tell the Committee who you met... You are under an obligation to reply". [15] The Chairman of the Committee (Donald Anderson) underscored the validity of MacKinlay's question telling Kelly: "It is a proper question... If you have met journalists there is nothing sinister in itself about meeting journalists, save in an unauthorised way." [15] MacKinlay offered his opinion that Kelly had been used by Gilligan telling Kelly: "I reckon you are chaff; you have been thrown up to divert our probing. Have you ever felt like a fall-guy? You have been set up, have you not?" [16]

Kelly was deeply upset by his treatment before the Committee and privately described MacKinlay as an 'utter bastard.' [17] During the hearing, he was closely questioned about several quotes given to Susan Watts, another BBC journalist working on Newsnight , who had reported a similar story. It later emerged that Gilligan had himself told members of the committee that Watts' source was also Kelly. Kelly denied any knowledge of the quotes and must have realised that he would have serious problems if the Ministry of Defence believed he had been the source of them. On the following day, (16 July 2003), Kelly gave evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee. He told them that he liaised with Operation Rockingham within the Defence Intelligence Staff.


On the morning of 17 July 2003, Kelly was working as usual at home in Oxfordshire. Media coverage of his public appearance two days before had led many of his friends to send him supportive emails, to which he was responding. One of the emails he sent that day was to New York Times journalist Judith Miller, [18] who had used Kelly as a source in a book on bioterrorism and to whom Kelly had mentioned "many dark actors playing games." [19] [20] He also received an email from his superiors at the Ministry of Defence asking for more details of his contacts with journalists.

Just before 3 pm Kelly's superior, Wing Commander Clark, [21] called him at home and spoke to him for 6–7 minutes. Clark called again at about 3:20 pm; the call was answered by Mrs Kelly who said that Kelly had gone out for a walk as he did every day. He appears to have gone directly to an area of woodlands known as Harrowdown Hill about a mile away from his home where he ingested up to 29 tablets of painkillers, co-proxamol, an analgesic drug and to have then cut his left wrist with a knife he had owned since his youth. [22] His wife reported him missing shortly after midnight that night, and he was found early the next morning. [23] Questioned on a flight to Hong Kong that day, Blair denied that anyone had been authorised to leak Kelly's identity. [24]

Hutton Inquiry

The government immediately announced that Lord Hutton would lead an inquiry into the events leading up to Kelly's death. The BBC shortly afterwards confirmed that Kelly had indeed been the single source for Andrew Gilligan's report. The inquiry took priority over an inquest, which would normally be required into a suspicious death. [25] The Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, considered the issue again in March 2004. After reviewing evidence not presented to the Hutton Inquiry, Gardiner decided there was no need for further investigation. This conclusion did not satisfy those who had raised doubts, but there has been no alternative official explanation for Kelly's death. The Hutton Inquiry reported on 28 January 2004 that Kelly had committed suicide. Lord Hutton wrote:

I am satisfied that none of the persons whose decisions and actions I later describe ever contemplated that Kelly might take his own life. I am further satisfied that none of those persons was at fault in not contemplating that Kelly might take his own life. Whatever pressures and strains Kelly was subjected to by the decisions and actions taken in the weeks before his death, I am satisfied that no one realised or should have realised that those pressures and strains might drive him to take his own life or contribute to his decision to do so.

Hutton concluded that the Ministry of Defence was obliged to make Kelly's identity known once he came forward as a potential source, and had not acted in a duplicitous manner. Hutton criticised the MoD for not having alerted Kelly to the fact that his name had become known to the press.

During the inquiry, British ambassador David Broucher reported a conversation with Kelly at a Geneva meeting in February 2003. Broucher related that Kelly said he had assured his Iraqi sources that there would be no war if they cooperated, and that a war would put him in an "ambiguous" moral position. [9] Broucher had asked Kelly what would happen if Iraq were invaded, and Kelly had replied, "I will probably be found dead in the woods." Broucher then quoted from an email he had sent just after Kelly's death: "I did not think much of this at the time, taking it to be a hint that the Iraqis might try to take revenge against him, something that did not seem at all fanciful then. I now see that he may have been thinking on rather different lines." According to an entry in one of Kelly's diaries, discovered afterwards by his daughter Rachel at his home, this meeting did not take place in February 2003, but in February 2002. According to Kelly's half-sister, Sarah Pape, the day after his daughter's wedding on Saturday 22 February 2003, Kelly flew to New York. Pape told the inquiry that Kelly "certainly did not mention he was going to be flying almost straight back to visit Geneva." [26]

Fatality of ulnar artery cuts

Although suicide was officially accepted as the cause of death, some medical experts have raised doubts, suggesting that the evidence does not support this. The most detailed objection was provided in a letter from three medical doctors published in The Guardian , [27] reinforced by support from two other senior doctors in a later letter to the newspaper. [28] These doctors argued that the post-mortem finding of a transected ulnar artery could not have caused a degree of blood loss that would kill someone, particularly when outside in the cold (where vasoconstriction would cause slow blood loss). Further, this conflicted with the minimal amount of blood found at the scene. They also contended that the amount of co-proxamol found was only about a third of what would normally be fatal. Dr Rouse, a British epidemiologist wrote to the British Medical Journal offering his opinion that the act of committing suicide by severing the wrist arteries is an extremely rare occurrence in a 59-year-old man with no previous psychiatric history. [29] Nobody else died from that cause during the year.

In December 2010 The Times reported that Kelly had a rare abnormality in the arteries supplying his heart; the information had been disclosed by the head of the Academic Unit of Pathology at Sheffield University Medical School, Professor Paul Ince, who noted that the post-mortem had found severe narrowing of the blood vessels, and said that heart disease was likely to have been a factor in Kelly's death as the cut to the wrist artery would not itself have been fatal. Vice-President of the British Cardiovascular Society Ian Simpson said that Kelly's artery anomaly could have contributed to his death. [30]

Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt, the two paramedics who were called to the scene of Kelly's death, have since gone public with their opinion that there was not enough blood at the location to justify the belief that he had died from blood loss. Bartlett and Hunt told The Guardian that they had seen a small amount of blood on plants near Kelly's body and a patch of blood the size of a coin on his trousers. They said they would expect to find several pints of blood at the scene of a suicide involving an arterial cut. [31] [32] Two forensic pathologists, Chris Milroy of Sheffield University and Guy Rutty of Leicester University, dismissed the paramedics' claims, saying it is hard to judge blood loss from the scene of a death, as some blood may have seeped into the ground. Milroy also told The Guardian that Kelly's heart condition may have made it hard for him to sustain any significant degree of blood loss. [33]

On 15 October 2007, it was discovered, through a Freedom of Information request, that the knife had no fingerprints on it. [34] nor were fingerprints retrieved from the medication blister pack or his mobile phone. [35]

Alternative theories for Kelly's death

The BBC broadcast a programme on Kelly on 25 February 2007 as part of the series The Conspiracy Files ; [36] the network commissioned an opinion poll to establish the views of the public on his death. 22.7% of those surveyed thought Kelly had not killed himself, 38.8% of people believed he had, and 38.5% said they did not know. [37] On 19 May 2006 Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, who had previously investigated the Hinduja affair, which led to the resignation of government minister Peter Mandelson, announced that he had been investigating "unanswered questions" from the official inquiry into Kelly's death. [38] He later announced that he had uncovered evidence to show that Kelly did not die from natural causes. [39] In July 2006, Baker claimed that his hard drive had been wiped remotely. [40] Baker's book The Strange Death of David Kelly was serialised in the Daily Mail before publication in November 2007. In his book, Baker argued that Kelly did not commit suicide. [41] Kelly's family expressed their displeasure at the publication; his sister-in-law said: "It is just raking over old bones. I can't speak for the whole family, but I've read it all [Baker's theories], every word, and I don't believe it." [42]

On 5 December 2009 six doctors began legal action to demand a formal inquest into the death, [43] saying there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt he killed himself". In January 2010, it was disclosed that Lord Hutton had requested that all files relating to the postmortem remain secret for 70 years. [44] In 2010, Attorney General Dominic Grieve was said to be considering an inquiry to review the suicide finding. [45]

In early August 2010, a group of nine experts, including former coroners and a professor of intensive-care medicine, wrote a letter to the newspaper The Times questioning Lord Hutton's verdict. [46] [47] [48] On 14 August 2010, Jennifer Dyson, a retired pathologist, amplified the criticism, saying that a coroner would probably have recorded an open verdict in the absence of absolute proof that suicide was intended. She cast further doubt on the circumstances surrounding the death of Kelly, and also criticised Hutton's handling of the inquiry. She joined other experts questioning the official finding that Kelly had bled to death and argued that it was more likely that he had suffered a heart attack due to the stress he had been placed under. This intervention came as Michael Howard, the former Conservative Party leader, became the most prominent politician to call for a full inquest into Kelly's death. [49]

Publication of postmortem report

In October 2010, the postmortem that Hutton had requested be sealed for 70 years to protect the Kelly family was made public by the new government. The report by Nicholas Hunt stated: [3] [50]

It is my opinion that the main factor involved in bringing about the death of David Kelly is the bleeding from the incised wounds to his left wrist. Had this not occurred he may well not have died at this time. Furthermore, on the balance of probabilities, it is likely that the ingestion of an excess number of co-proxamol tablets coupled with apparently clinically silent coronary artery disease would both have played a part in bringing about death more certainly and more rapidly than would have otherwise been the case. Therefore I give as the cause of death: 1a. Haemorrhage; 1b. Incised wounds to the left wrist; 2. Co-proxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis.

Powers expressed scathing criticism of the lack of rigour of the Hutton inquiry, and asserted that the officially stated cause of death was highly implausible. The Independent on Sunday [51] published a "head-to-head" exchange of letters between two journalists: Miles Goslett, who argued that (as with all sudden or violent deaths) a proper inquest should be held; and John Rentoul, who was convinced that the death was a suicide and that to think otherwise was a "ridiculous and tasteless fairy story" created by conspiracy theorists.

Exhumation of body

On 29 October 2017 it was reported that Kelly's body had been exhumed at the request of his family. This action was taken due to threats of exhumation by protestors who did not believe Kelly committed suicide. The body was apparently moved and cremated. [52]

The death of Kelly and preceding events have served as an inspiration for artistic tributes and dramatisations including the song "Harrowdown Hill" by Thom Yorke [53] and a painting, Death of David Kelly (2008), by Dexter Dalwood. [54]

Simon Armitage has published a poem, titled "Hand-Washing Technique – Government Guidelines" and subtitled "i.m. Dr David Kelly", hinting at an internal cover up.

The story of Kelly was also the subject of a 2005 television drama, The Government Inspector , starring Mark Rylance, and the impact of his death is one of the themes of Jonathan Coe's 2015 novel Number 11 .

Kelly's last moments are featured in the centre monologue of the stage play Palace of the End by Canadian playwright Judith Thompson.

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Brian Francis Gill Jones was a UK metallurgist who worked as an intelligence analyst, was skeptical of claims of Iraqi WMD and gave evidence concerning the justification for the Iraq war.

<i>The Strange Death of David Kelly</i> book by Norman Baker

The Strange Death of David Kelly is a 2007 book by British politician Norman Baker.


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