And if one were to accept a verdict of death by exsanguination, why
was there not more blood found in the vicinity?
It has been estimated that for a person of Dr Kelly's size to die of
haemorrhage, he would need to lose about five pints of blood. But
witness accounts did not indicate anything near that amount at the
Paramedic Vanessa Hunt volunteered the observation that there was
'no obvious arterial bleeding. There was no spraying of blood or
huge blood loss or any obvious loss on the clothing. ... As to on
the ground, I do not remember seeing a sort of huge puddle or
anything like that.' [HI] This was seconded by ambulance technician
David Bartlett, who commented 'we was surprised there was not more
blood on the body if it was an arterial bleed.' [HI]
In rebuttal to these comments, the forensic biologist referred to 'a
fair bit of blood' [HI] around the body and surmised that much of it
had probably been absorbed by leaf litter covering the ground. He
does not appear from the evidence to have tested the premise.
The pathologist's conclusion that '[t]he arterial injury had
resulted in the loss of a significant volume of blood,' [HI] seemed
to derive from the fact that the artery had been cut rather than
from specific evidence at the scene or the post mortem examination.
He did not offer an assessment of the amount of blood remaining in
the heart and large vessels to support a conclusion of haemorrhage.
Did Kelly take an overdose of his wife's medication?
Although the secondary cause of death was determined to be
coproxamol ingestion, forensic toxicologist Alexander Allan reported
finding merely 67 milligrammes of paracetamol in the stomach
contents (equivalent to one-fifth of one tablet of coproxamol), and
blood level concentrations per millilitre of 97 microgrammes for
paracetamol and 1.0 microgrammes for dextropropoxyphene (equivalent
to approximately 20 tablets).
Dr Allan acknowledged this amount to be three to four times lower
than the medically accepted level for fatal overdose. Dr Hunt
offered no post mortem evidence of respiratory depression or heart
failure consistent with dextropropoxyphene overdose, or of liver
damage from paracetamol overdose.
Lord Hutton noted that according to Dr Allan, 'the only way in which
paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene could be found in Dr Kelly's
blood was by him taking tablets containing them which he would have
to ingest.' [HR p 95] But acquaintance Mai Pederson reportedly told
police that Dr Kelly had difficulty swallowing pills -- a condition
which could be confirmed by family, friends or physician. If true,
it is doubtful that he would have voluntarily chosen to ingest over
20 of them.
In addition, as a scientist and biowarfare specialist Dr Kelly would
presumably have known how much coproxamol was required to induce
overdose, and have had knowledge of and access to faster and more
Nor was it adequately demonstrated at the inquiry that the blister
packs found in Dr Kelly's jacket were taken from his wife's
In his report, Lord Hutton deemed it 'probable that the Coproxamol
tablets which Dr Kelly took just before his death came from a store
of those tablets which Mrs Kelly, who suffered from arthritis, kept
in their home.' [HR p 96] This despite evidence from Detective
Constable Eldridge that their identical batch numbers were shared
with 1.6 million other packets sold throughout the country.
And Mrs Kelly did not confirm that an equivalent number of tablets
were missing from her store at the house.
Was Kelly suicidal?
In the expert opinion of psychiatrist Keith Hawton it was 'well nigh
certain' [HI] that Dr Kelly had committed suicide, a conclusion
based largely on circumstantial evidence: isolated location of the
site, wounds to the wrist, apparent use of a familiar object,
presence of several empty blister packs. Less attention was given to
the numerous contraindicators of suicidal ideation.
Professor Hawton told the inquiry that Dr Kelly was 'an intensely
private man' who kept his emotions bottled up and whose self-esteem
was tied to his work. [HI] He theorized that in the wake of the
parliamentary hearings, Dr Kelly had begun to see himself as
publicly disgraced and to fear the loss of his job. Receiving
additional parliamentary questions at about 9.28 am on 17 July
possibly led to a perception that the problem was escalating and
increased his sense of hopelessness.
But these suppositions are not borne out by witness accounts or by
Dr Kelly's own behavior.
According to MoD colleague Wing Commander John Clark, Kelly had
reporting being in good spirits when they spoke by telephone on 17
July. Clark and Kelly had agreed on 25 July as the date for him to
fly to Iraq to work with the survey group, and the evidence
indicated he was eager to resume that effort.
At about 11.18 am that morning, Dr Kelly sent several e-mails to
friends and colleagues, most anticipating that it would 'all blow
over by early next week' [HI] and indicating his expectation of
returning to Baghdad the following Friday. The e-mail messages given
as evidence are not indicative of depression, despair, or
Nor did Dr Kelly seem uncharacteristically distraught in encounters
with two neighbors after leaving the house. Sometime around 3.00 pm
he stopped and chatted amiably for a few minutes with neighbor Ruth
Absalom, who described him as '[j]ust his normal self, no different
to any other time when I have met him.' [HI] Farmer Paul Weaver also
saw Kelly walking through farmland that afternoon, as reported by
the 20 July Observer. Weaver commented that Kelly 'seemed happy
enough' and had smiled at him. 
Professor Hawton in his evidence mentioned three possible factors
that might have acted as deterrents against Dr Kelly's suicide.
One was faith. Dr Kelly was acknowledged to have been a practicing
member of the Baha’i faith, which strongly condemns the act of
Another was family. He had arranged with his daughter Rachel the
night of 16 July to join him at his home the next evening for a walk
and to visit a nearby foal. He was also looking forward to his
daughter's wedding in October.
A third was the effect of a previous suicide by a family member,
which may decrease the likelihood of the survivor choosing a similar
course. Dr Kelly has been quoted by Mai Pederson as saying in regard
to his mother's suicide, 'Good God no, I couldn’t imagine ever doing
that ... I would never do it.' 
These mitigating factors, coupled with Professor Hawton's
observation that Dr Kelly's 'mood was predominantly reported as
being quite upbeat in spite of all his difficulties' with no 'sense
of a persistent depressive mood' [HI], and an historical lack of
psychiatric problems, contrast sharply with Hawton's depiction of a
man suddenly pushed over the edge by additional parliamentary
questions and a terminal case of mortification.
Assistant Chief Constable Michael Page confirmed that 'based on
early discussions with the inquiry it seemed entirely out of
character' for Dr Kelly to have taken his own life. [HI]
Was Kelly's body moved?
Throughout the inquiry it was assumed that the body remained
undisturbed until checked for vital signs by the ambulance crew. But
there were marked discrepancies in descriptions of body position,
particularly whether the body was lying flat or the head and
shoulders rested against the tree, and whether the right arm was
lying to the side of the body or across the chest.
By all accounts, the first person on the scene was Louise
Holmes, a volunteer member of the search team who approached to
within a few feet of the body. She stated: 'I could see a body
slumped against the bottom of a tree. ... He was at the base of
the tree with almost his head and his shoulders just slumped
back against the tree. His legs were straight in front of him.
His right arm was to the side of him. His left arm had a lot of
blood on it and was bent back in a funny position.' [HI]
The second person to view the body was fellow searcher Paul Chapman.
From a distance of 15 to 20 metres he saw: 'The body of a gentleman
sitting up against a tree... He was sitting with his back up
against a tree...' [HI]
Soon after, Detective Constable Graham Coe arrived at the scene. His
description was quite different: 'It was laying on its back -- the
body was laying on its back by a large tree, the head towards the
trunk of the tree.' [HI] He also reported seeing a knife, watch, and
small water bottle near the body. Holmes and Chapman did not mention
seeing other objects, nor were they questioned about them at the
Lord Hutton chose not to quote Chapman directly in his report but
related that, 'Mr Chapman then took one of the police officers,
Detective Constable Coe, to show him where the body was. Mr Chapman
showed Detective Constable Coe the body lying on its back...' [HR p
86] Hutton later commented, 'I have seen a photograph of Dr Kelly's
body in the wood which shows that most of his body was lying on the
ground but that his head was slumped against the base of the tree -
therefore a witness could say either that the body was lying on the
ground or slumped against the tree.' [HR p 100]
But Chapman twice used the term 'sitting' to denote body position,
which is not to be confused with 'lying.' And subsequent witnesses
did not use the term 'slumped' at all, nor did they indicate that
any part of the body was resting against the tree.
Police Constables Dean Franklin and Martyn Sawyer were next on the
scene. PC Franklin described the victim as 'lying on his back with
his right hand to his side and his left hand was sort of inverted
with the palm facing down (Indicates), facing up on his back.' [HI]
PC Sawyer described the body as '[l]ying on its back with its head
at the base of a tree, a large tree. The head was tilted to the
left. The right arm was by the side. The left arm was palm
The ambulance crew arrived soon after and waited while police
photographs were taken before checking for vital signs. Hunt
stated: 'There was a male on his back, feet towards us. On his
left arm, which was outstretched to the left of him, there was
some dry blood. ... The only part of the body we moved was Dr
Kelly's right arm, which was over the chest, to facilitate us to
place the fourth lead on to the chest.' [HI] Bartlett stated:
'They led us up to where the body was laid, feet facing us, laid
on its back, left arm out to one side (indicates) and the right
arm across the chest.' [HI]
It is possible the body was moved for some reason by police. But no
one gave evidence to that effect. DC Coe in particular made a point
of telling the inquiry he observed the scene but 'did not go over
the body.' [HI] As related by Lord Hutton, Coe 'remained about seven
or eight feet away from the body and stayed in that position for
about 25 or 30 minutes until two other police officers arrived...'
[HR p 86]
The position of the head at the time the body was found is
significant in relation to what Bartlett described as stains going
from the 'corners of the mouth' towards the 'bottom of the ears.'
[HI] These were confirmed by pathologist Hunt to be vomit streaks.
The direction of the streaks indicate the head would have been lying
flat, not slightly raised. If the head was resting against the tree
at the time, the streaks would have come forward down the chin. This
raises the further possibility that the body was moved after death
but prior to discovery by Holmes.
These disparities could possibly be resolved using the digital
photographs taken by search team leader PC Sawyer, supposedly before
the body and surrounding area were disturbed. It does not appear
that searchers Holmes and Chapman or ambulance crew members Hunt and
Bartlett were asked to verify whether the photos accurately
reflected the position in which they found the body.
Is there reason to suspect foul play?
ACC Page's stated confidence that Dr Kelly 'met his death at his own
hand' [HI] derived from the absence of contravening evidence. But as
noted by the following items, there were some intimations of outside
involvement. It is not apparent that these were seriously explored
by the inquiry.
On the morning of the day he went missing, Dr Kelly sent an e-mail
message to Judith Miller, a journalist acquaintance with the New
York Times, containing the line: 'I will wait until the end of the
week before judging - many dark actors playing games.' [HI exhibit
David Broucher, British ambassador to the disarmament conference,
reported to the inquiry a conversation he recalled having with Dr
Kelly at a Geneva meeting in February 2003 (the date and location of
which are subject to debate). Broucher had asked Kelly what would
happen if Iraq were invaded, and Kelly had replied, 'I will probably
be found dead in the woods.'[HI] Professor Hawton dismissed this as
'pure coincidence' and without relevance to Dr Kelly's death. [HI]
Others have strangely twisted it to represent a premonition of his
impending suicide. Taken at face value, it could as readily be
interpreted to mean he was aware of some threat to his safety.
The coproxamol and knife found at the scene are ideal choices for
lending the appearance of suicide, especially if one starts out with
that conclusion. Both items could easily be associated with the
victim and shown to be readily available to him at his home. Of
interest here is the comment by a Thames Valley Police spokesman
reported in the 18 July Guardian, the day the body was found.
'Responding to questions about whether the dead man had died of
gunshot wounds, the spokesman said that Dr Kelly was not a licensed
firearms holder.' 
ACC Page gave evidence that he had been contacted by a witness who
reported seeing three men dressed in dark or black clothing between
8.30 and 9.30 am on 18 July near the site where Dr Kelly's body was
found. ACC Page said he was able to satisfy himself by plotting the
movements of the approximately 50 officers at the scene that he was
'aware of the identity of these three individuals.' [HI] He declined
to elaborate on their purported activities.
ACC Page told the inquiry that Dr Kelly's dentist had reported the
following incident. Upon hearing on 18 July of Dr Kelly's death, she
had attempted to retrieve his dental records from the filing cabinet
and found them missing; two days later they had reappeared in their
expected place in the filing cabinet. According to ACC Page, the
police had investigated and 'found no trace of anything untoward.'
[HI] There was no evidence from the dentist that she believed the
records to have been misplaced.
Dr Hunt's post mortem examination noted three minor abrasions to the
scalp, a small abrasion on the inner lower lip, a bruise below the
left knee, two bruises below the right knee, and two bruises over
the left side of the chest. His supposition that these injuries may
have been sustained through contact with the undergrowth or by
stumbling about in the brush merits further critical analysis.
Who is DC Coe?
According to evidence given at the inquiry, Detective Constable
Graham Coe enjoyed some prominence in the police investigation. He
initially took charge of the death scene, and by his own account
supervised an exhibits officer during a search of the Kelly
residence on 19 July. But he was not mentioned by ACC Page in
connection with the case, nor did the search adviser or search team
leader seem to be aware of his activities. There is also some
question as to how he came to be the first police officer on the
scene and who accompanied him.
Upon locating the body, searchers Holmes and Chapman notified
Abingdon police station by mobile phone and were instructed to
return to the car and wait for police officers to arrive. Within a
few minutes, while walking back to the car, they encountered three
men coming up the track, one of whom identified himself as DC Coe.
Chapman told the inquiry, 'As we were going down the path we met
three police officers coming the other way that were from CID.
We identified ourselves to them. They were not actually aware
that (a) the body had been found or we were out searching this
area. They I think had just come out on their own initiative to
look at the area.' [HI]
DC Coe told the inquiry he had been called out to Abingdon
police station at 6.00 am and instructed to 'make some house to
house inquiries in the area where Dr Kelly lived.' After
speaking to neighbor Ruth Absalom about her encounter with Dr
Kelly the previous afternoon, DC Coe and a colleague, whom he
identified as Detective Constable Shields, 'went to the area
where she had last seen him and made a sort of search towards
the river.' [HI]
But search adviser PC Franklin stated he had believed there were
only two volunteers out searching at that time, and he had
anticipated that after receiving the call he and search team
leader PC Sawyer 'were going to be the first team out on the
ground.' He evidenced surprise at having found DC Coe and the
'two uniformed police officers' there, commenting 'I had no idea
what he was doing there or why he was there. He was just at the
scene when PC Sawyer and I arrived.' [HI]
PC Sawyer stated: 'We continued walking up the hill, where I saw
DC Coe and two uniformed officers. ...The three officers -- DC
Coe and the two uniformed officers -- stayed on the path which
leads through the woods.' [HI]
DC Coe affirmed he had only one companion. But at least four other
witnesses contradicted his account, specifically stating (some more
than once) that he had been accompanied by two other men. Lord
Hutton dismissed these discrepancies by noting that 'entirely honest
witnesses often give evidence as to what they saw at the scene which
differs as to details.' [HR p 100]
It does not appear that the inquiry attempted to verify who DC Coe
was with, why they were at the scene, and whether or not he and his
two companions were the three men in dark clothing witnessed earlier
that morning near Harrowdown Hill.
What is Operation 'Mason'?
One piece of evidence listed on the Hutton inquiry website was 'TVP
Tactical Support Major Incident Policy Book: Operation 'Mason'
Between 1430 17.07.03 and 0930 18.07.03, DCI Alan Young.' [HI
In the course of the inquiry PC Sawyer identified Detective Chief
Inspector Alan Young as senior investigating officer for the case.
ACC Page stated that upon being notified that Dr Kelly's body had
been found, he had appointed an unnamed senior investigating officer
to 'carry out the technical issues around the investigation.'
It is assumed that both statements referred to the same individual.
But the above exhibit indicates his participation began on the
afternoon of the day before.
It does not appear that DCI Young gave evidence at the inquiry. Nor
was anyone questioned about the tactical support operation under his
command, which appears to have commenced at least half an hour
before Dr Kelly left his home -- a full 10 hours before his family
reported him missing -- and to have terminated at about the time the
body was found.
Has all of the evidence been considered?
Unlike a coroner's inquest, the inquiry lacked the authority to
request new evidence or compel witnesses to appear. Testimony was
not given under oath, nor was it subject to aggressive
cross-examination. Key pathological evidence, especially, was not
introduced or queried.
The pathologist failed to include assessment of rigor mortis or to
establish an approximate time of death -- he offered a nine-hour
window based on a temperature reading taken seven hours after
gaining access to the body. And his medical evidence did not
substantiate haemorrhage, self-infliction, or coproxamol overdose.
In view of the nature of Dr Kelly's work, it is not unreasonable to
suspect he may have been killed by someone familiar with the use of
techniques and substances which are difficult to detect. But it is
unclear whether the necessary sophisticated and exhaustive
toxicological analysis was performed to address such a possibility.
As reported by ACC Page, about 500 people were contacted and 300
statements taken in the course of the police investigation, of which
five individuals refused to permit their statements to be forwarded
to Lord Hutton. The inquiry heard from about 70 individuals whose
evidence the police deemed relevant to the proceedings. Those not
heard from included Paul Weaver, Mai Pederson, and Gabriella
Farmer Paul Weaver may have been the last person to see Dr Kelly
alive. The 19 July Guardian reported that Weaver had seen Dr Kelly
in the fields near his home on the afternoon of 17 July, and later
that day he and councillor John Melling had searched for Kelly in
the area between Southmoor and Longworth. 
Mai Pederson, considered a friend and confidante of Dr Kelly's,
was interviewed by detectives after his death but declined to
give evidence to the inquiry. In a 25 January interview with the
Mail on Sunday she claimed to have told police of his aversion
to swallowing pills, his feeling about suicide, and his sense
that his life might be in danger.  Yet ACC
Page stated that his conversation with Pederson 'added nothing
that was of relevance to my inquiry at all.' [HI]
Gabriella Kraz-Wadsak was identified at the inquiry as an officer in
the German army who had worked with Dr Kelly in Iraq and been in
contact with him days before his death. In reference to her
interview, ACC Page judged it also to be '[n]othing that furthered
my inquiries...' [HI]
Conceivably, the missing witness statements and pathology details
could shed additional light on Dr Kelly's state of mind or behavior.
The coroner has indicated that his review of the case will include
evidence not considered by the inquiry.
What really happened?
Lord Hutton was unequivocal in his finding of suicide. With all due
respect for his juridical competence, such conviction is not
warranted by the evidence offered. The preponderance of
circumstantial evidence and the exaggerated political context makes
questionable a definitive ruling.
As the pathologist noted, Dr Kelly's death has the appearance of
typical self-inflicted injury 'if one ignores all the other
features of the case.' [HI]
Throughout the inquiry, Lord Hutton neglected to challenge
contradictory evidence or to pursue testimony suggesting an
alternative scenario. The most obvious explanation in support of
suicide was consistently seized upon with little regard for Dr
Kelly's known character and disposition.
Despite the circumstantial evidence, it is doubtful that this
particular individual would have chosen such an awkward, messy, and
potentially ineffectual method. And notwithstanding expert opinion,
it is unlikely that in this specific situation he would have gone to
his death without attempting to vindicate himself or to put his
affairs in order.
All that has been shown thus far is the circumstance under which Dr
Kelly was found dead in the woods. It has not been shown that he
went there to kill himself, or that he bled to death from
self-inflicted injuries. The inquiry did not reliably establish when
or how he died.
Lord Hutton's official version remains unproven, the facts as
documented by the inquiry incomplete. A coroner's inquest is needed
to render a plausible explanation of events based on rigorous
examination of the toxicological and pathological evidence.
It is left to Mr Gardiner, wielding the instruments of subpoena and
sworn testimony, to probe more deeply into these questions and
uncover the truth about David Kelly's death.
|| Part 1 |
Part 2 | Part 3
| Part 4 | Part
5 | Part 6 |
Part 7 | Part 8 |
Part 9 | Part 10
About the author:
RENAN TALIEVA is a freelance writer living in the western US,
psychological research, with knowledge of suicidal thought and
behaviour. He states: 'I have closely followed the Kelly case from
the beginning and
find it absolutely incredible that the public and the media accept
without question the official story.'
HI = The Hutton Inquiry
HR Lord Brian Hutton, Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances
Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly C.M.G., 28 January 2004
1. Danny Kemp, 'Kelly Coroner May Examine Unseen Evidence,' The
Scotsman, 29 January 2004
2. Jim Rarey, 'The Murder Of David Kelly,' 14 October 2003
3. 'Our doubts about Dr Kelly's suicide,' The Guardian, 27 January
4. 'A haunted man,' The Observer, 20 July 2003
5. 'Dr Kelly 'did not kill himself',' femail.uk, 26 January 2004
6. Tom Happold, 'Body matches Kelly's description,' The Guardian, 18
7. Steven Morris and Hugh Muir, 'Mystery of last, lonely walk,' The
Guardian, 19 July 2003
8. Chris Marsden, 'More questions on Dr Kelly’s death as a
confidante rejects suicide claim,' World Socialist Web Site, 30
* * *
This additional information on Dr. Kelly
may be updated currently:
check out the "Dead Scientists" blogspot:
Email correspondence with author Rowena Thursby
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