Paula Lannas's methods of investigation were
described as "demonstrating a continuing pattern of inadequate
and unsatisfactory examinations and breaches of accepted
forensic pathology practice". When the board failed to reach a
conclusion due to a "conflict of interest or lack of
impartiality" - meaning that members of the board did not feel
comfortable passing judgement on a colleague - the case
collapsed. Senior Home Office forensic pathologist Nat Cary
observed wryly, "It may be a cynical view, but I think they want
to keep the lid on things".
Given that at least two of these Home Office pathologists were
criticised for some years and yet remained in their jobs, it
begs the question: were these government professionals huddling
together for protection, or were some of these "mistakes" and
"omissions" made deliberately, or allowed to pass, for political
With fallibility - and corruption - in mind, it may be
instructive to review Nicholas Hunt's testimony to the Hutton
What is striking in Nicholas Hunt's account of Dr Kelly's death
is the impression he creates of blood everywhere: blood on
Kelly's jacket, on his trousers, on his left wrist, on the palm
of his right hand, on the right side of his neck, and on the
right side of his face. But actually he is not talking of large
amounts - only of small patches smeared on the body and
Contrast this with the paramedics' assertion that, in their
professional view, there was very little blood around for an
arterial bleed. Normally an artery (which Hunt says was
"completely severed") would produce copious amounts of blood
spurting from the wound. Yet to quote paramedic Vanessa Hunt:
"....the amount of blood that was around the scene seemed
relatively minimal and there was a small patch on his right
knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There was no spraying of
blood or huge blood loss of any obvious loss on the clothing."
PC Franklin, one of the police constables at the scene, reported
blood being "puddled around". However, this was not what the
paramedics saw contemporaneously. Vanessa Hunt and David
Bartlett worked much closer to the body than the two police
constables; had there been blood puddled around when they
unbuttoned Kelly's shirt to put the electrodes on his chest,
they would have been practically kneeling in it. Vanessa Hunt
also commented "On his left arm...there was some dry
blood"....." - only some blood, while Bartlett expressed
surprise there was not more blood on the body itself, suggesting
that is what he would expect to have found with an arterial
According to Nicholas Hunt, there "was a series of incised
wounds, cuts, of varying depth over the front [inside] of the
left wrist and they extended.. over about 8 by 5 cm...", some of
which he describes as "hesitation marks."
Perhaps we too need to hesitate, and ask: why would this
world-class scientist - and according to Keith Hawton the
psychiatrist, an "extremely meticulous" man - choose such an
astonishingly clumsy and uncertain method of suicide? The
following information is from an internet police investigation
"Wrist slashing by itself is not a very effective means of
committing suicide and few people actually die of it. This is
especially true if the victim cuts laterally across the wrist.
He or she may do substantial damage to the important tendons
which control the fingers. He or she may even cut an important
artery or vein but the blood vessels will immediately draw back
into the muscles surrounding them, effectively sealing off any
major leakage of blood."
Most people attempting suicide in this way slash both wrists
with the intention of losing as much blood in as short a time as
possible. They also know the importance of immersing the wrists
in hot water to help prevent blood coagulation and keep the
wound open. Even so, "success" is not guaranteed, and many wake
up later in a tub of cold water."
Other internet sources point out that the best way to kill
oneself using a knife is to make a longitudinal incision, from
the crease of the inside of the wrist up to the elbow. Kelly
would surely have been aware of this. It seems surprising that
he chose to slash his wrist. As a professional scientist, once
Head of Microbiology at Porton Down, one would imagine he might
have chosen a much more effective & certain method.
But to follow Nicholas Hunt's version of events, far from acting
in the precise and careful manner of a world-class scientist,
Kelly apparently kills himself in the most painful manner
possible. Hunt tells the inquiry that amongst the multiple
incised wounds to the inside of the wrist was one much deeper
wound. He says that this represented the severing of the ulnar
artery. Why though, would Kelly choose to sever the ulnar artery
on the little finger side - one which is deep within the wrist -
rather than the radial artery on the thumb side, which is much
more accessible. Moreover the ulnar artery was not just cut but
COMPLETELY SEVERED. How likely is it that Kelly would cut so
deep into his own wrist that he would completely sever one of
the trickiest arteries to reach?
article: "The Murder of David Kelly" Part 1, Jim Rarey
points out that cutting the ulnar artery suggests not so much a
right-handed Kelly slashing from left to right, missing the
superficial radial and cutting deep into the ulnar, as someone
other than Kelly standing in front of the body slashing deep
into the inside of the wrist (the ulnar side) across to the
outside (the radial side) of the wrist.
Hunt describes "hesitation marks" which "are commonly seen prior
to a deep cut being made into somebody's skin." These hesitation
marks might seem to indicate that this was indeed a genuine
suicide - but how do we know that they were not added after the
body had been removed from the scene, as part of a staged,
state-sanctioned murder? An assassin might have slashed the
wrist once while Kelly was unconscious & left the detail to
others. There is sufficient evidence - see
article, "Dark Actors at the Scene of Kelly's Death" by
Rowena Thursby - to suggest that this may have been a "show"
suicide, intended to dupe the layperson into believing this was
suicide when it may have been murder made to look like suicide.
Nicholas Hunt next mentions abrasions to the left side of
Kelly's scalp. But rather than leave the reason for those scalp
abrasions open, he jumps in and tries to make them seem
"... and of course that part of his head was relatively close to
How many abrasions does one receive on one's head just from
walking through a wood? Kelly was a seasoned and vigorous
walker, fully capable of ducking under or pushing aside any
branches or twigs in his way."
Lord Hutton however, appears to support Hunt's line of
reasoning; he asks: "Were those abrasions consistent with having
been in contact with the undergrowth?" - as if receiving
abrasions from walking through a wood was an everyday
occurrence! (One starts to wonder whether there might not be a
degree of collusion between the questioner and the witness).
But Hunt does not stop there. His testimony starts to descend
into the realms of high farce.
Pleased that Lord Hutton is uncritically following his drift he
"They were entirely, my Lord; particularly branches, pebbles and
Pebbles? Is this man serious? He is in a wood, not on a beach!
Woods do not contain pebbles. Even allowing for a slip of the
tongue - let us say he meant to say "stones" as, indeed he
states later - how is Dr Kelly's scalp supposed to have come
into contact with stones? He had three fresh scalp abrasions:
are we supposed to believe this cool scientist, whose brain,
according to Tom Mangold, could "boil water", been hitting his
head repeatedly on the ground?
Hunt next attempts to explain away a number of bruises on
"There was a bruise below the left knee. There were two bruises
below the right knee over the shin and there were two bruises
over the left side of his chest. All of these were small..."
When asked how they could have occurred Hunt states:
"They would have occurred following a blunt impact against any
firm object and it would not have to a particularly heavy
impact....some of them may have been caused as Dr Kelly was
stumbling, if you like, at the scene."
First we have Kelly banging his head on the odd stone that
happened to be lying on the floor of the wood, and now Hunt now
tries to seduce us into imagining Kelly "stumbling at the
scene". Why should Kelly have been stumbling at the scene? If
the official scenario is to be believed, here was a man, calmly
looking for a place in the wood where he could end his life.
According to Keith Hawton, the psychiatrist, having made the
decision to commit suicide, Kelly would have felt a sense of
peace and calm. So why now are we being asked to accept as
consistent the notion that he was "stumbling" around the wood?
We are reassured by Hunt there were "no signs of defensive
injuries.... and by that I mean injuries that occur as a result
of somebody trying to parry blows from a weapon or trying to
grasp a weapon."
But what if someone, or a group, assaulted Kelly without a
weapon? Perhaps the bruise on the chest for example occurred as
a result of a single sharp push. It is possible that the grazes
on the head could have occurred if Kelly had been manhandled. A
cut on the mouth mentioned by Hunt, again may have been the
result an assault.
Much is made of the possibility of Kelly having been attacked
with a knife. Why? Because a knife was found at the scene? Hunt
appears to be suggesting that one of the few alternatives to
suicide would have been murder at the hands of a random
knife-wielder lurking in the wood. The possibility of a small
group of state-sponsored professional assassins setting up a
suicide scene appears to be regarded as taboo or too hot to
mention. Kelly may have been accosted before he reached the
wood, abducted, and drugged - and only later placed in the copse
with suicide props around him.
When seeking reasons for the cuts and bruises on the scalp,
chest and mouth, why is murder-made-to-look-like-suicide not
properly explored? Presumably pathologists employed by the Home
Office know better than to mention such a scenario.
PRE-JUDGING THE CASE
Throughout his testimony Hunt starts from a position of assuming
Kelly's death was probably straightforward suicide:
"The orientation and arrangement of the wounds over the left
wrist are typical of self-inflicted injury. Also typical of this
was the presence of small cuts called tentative or hesitation
marks. The fact that his watch appeared to have been removed
whilst blood was already flowing suggests that it had been
removed deliberately in order to facilitate access to the wrist.
The removal of the watch in that way and indeed the removal of
the spectacles are features pointing towards this being an act
Plus, he adds, the "neat way in which the bottle an its top were
placed, the lack of obvious sign of trampling of the undergrowth
or damage to the clothing..."and the pleasant and private
location of the spot."
But is it right to start with a theory, or should the evidence
be examined without pre-judgement? When facts are interpreted -
or misinterpreted - through a filter of prejudice which says
"this looks like suicide" crucial points may be missed.
For example, how does Hunt know the watch was removed whilst
blood was already flowing? We are left to assume it is because
he found blood on the watch. But blood on the watch need not
mean that the watch was still on the wrist. Blood may have
splashed onto the watch after it was removed. Moreover it need
not have necessarily have been Kelly who removed the watch. Had
he removed his own watch it would have made more sense to do so
before he started cutting. Another party - a professional
assassin intent on creating a suicide-scene - could have removed
the watch. So the interpretation of "watch removed by suicidal
man in order to gain better access to wrist" is but one
possibility. Hunt alights upon this tortuous explanation either
to back his prejudice or to convince his audience that this was
Unfortunately the system is set up to regard him as an expert
whose interpretation is of great value. But it is still only one
interpretation, and can obviously be wrong. The neat placement
of the bottle & top need not mean Kelly himself had arranged
them. A private spot may be considered by some an ideal location
for a suicide - but by others, for a murder.
The possibility of murder is dismissed point by point, without
proper examination. No evidence was found, says Hunt, of:
- restraint-type injury
- sustained violent assault
- strangulation or use of arm hold.
But had Kelly been frog marched through the
wood with a gun to his back, violent assault or restraint would
be unnecessary. And had he been overpowered by a chloroform-type
substance, prior to the cutting of his wrists, we would be none
the wiser. Interestingly, Hunt was questioned on this last
point, which suggests that some kind of assassination was being
considered, but he merely refers to the toxicologist's report,
which to date has not been made available. Is it hoped that such
"details" may be forgotten as the media circus transfers its
focus from the details of the death itself onto whose political
head will fall?
Hunt's final assessment, his own personal interpretation -
"there was no pathological evidence to indicate the involvement
of a third party in Dr Kelly's death.... the features are quite
typical, I would say, of self-inflicted injury if one ignores
all the other features of the case" - is the version of events
the media reports. The pathologist has spoken - the silent
inference being that he is best placed to know - so we must bow
to his "expertise". But as we have seen in the introduction,
such "expertise" is sometimes questionable.
In Hunt's qualifier - "if one ignores all the other features of
the case" - lies the rub. Ignore the fact that Kelly had become
an embarrassment to the establishment through divulging
inconvenient facts & suppositions to the media? Ignore the fact
that he was about to return to Iraq, where his by- now public
profile would have guaranteed publicity to the dearth of WMDs?
The fact that this would highlight the mendacity employed in
persuading the British and American public to support a war with
Iraq? The fact that here was a man scrupulous about a truth they
did not want told? The fact that Kelly had met and was
discussing book projects with Victoria Roddam, a publisher in
Oxford who in an e-mail to the scientist only a week before his
death wrote: "I think the time is ripe now more than ever for a
title which addresses the relationship between government policy
and war - I'm sure you would agree."
Far from ignoring Kelly's pivotal political position at the time
of his death, we should surely highlight it: as we explore the
physical evidence provided at the death scene, the fact that
there were elements in government and intelligence who wanted
Kelly silenced has to figure prominently in understanding how he
Nicholas Hunt may have been a pathologist doing his job in the
way he saw fit, nothing more than that. Perhaps, like other Home
Office pathologists, he was displaying a degree of bias in his
interpretations. Alternatively, Hunt may have been party to a
degree political sorcery requiring solid indications from this
key professional figure that on 17th-18th August, Dr Kelly had
killed himself on Harrowdown Hill by slashing his own left
|| Part 1 |
Part 2 | Part 3
| Part 4 | Part
5 | Part 6 |
Part 7 | Part 8 |
Part 9 | Part 10
This additional information on Dr. Kelly
may be updated currently:
check out the "Dead Scientists" blogspot:
Email from Author
page may contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been
specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material
available in my efforts to advance understanding of environmental,
political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice
issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted
material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In
accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.