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Last updated: Sunday, 19 December 2004
Dr. David Kelly, the Government Consultant Microbiologist, committed suicide?
Possibly. But highly unlikely.
If he did, then he chose quite possibly the most convoluted method possible. A method that could easily have ‘gone wrong’ … in the sense that he would have ended up splattered in blood, and with a large gaping hole in his left wrist, still very much alive, and a hell of a lot of explaining to do to his wife, family, and all the waiting newshounds.
Why was this? Well, consider the carefully chosen words of four eminent forensic experts, and of experts warning of flaws in post-mortem blood tests that lead to miscarriages of justice. Then consider the words of Lord Hutton, in his report concluding ‘suicide’, where he refers back to the evidence given by Home Office Pathologist Nicholas Hunt (with my emphasis):
[16 September, Page 28, Line 5]
Q. And in summary, what is your opinion as to the major factor involved in Dr Kelly ’s death?
A. It is the haemorrhage as a result of the incised wounds to his left wrist.
Q. If that had not occurred, would Dr Kelly have died?
A. He may not have done at this time, with that level of dextropropoxyphene.
Q. What role, if any, did the coronary disease play?
A. As with the drug dextropropoxyphene, it would have hastened death rather than caused it, as such.
Q. So how would you summarise, in brief, your conclusions as to the cause of death?
A. In the formulation, the cause of death is given as 1(a) haemorrhage due to 1(b) incised wounds of the left wrist. Under part 2 of the formulation of the medical cause of death, Coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis.
Q. You have already dealt with this, I think, but could you confirm whether, as far as you could tell on the examination, there was any sign of third party involvement in Dr Kelly ’s death?
A. No, there was no pathological evidence to indicate the involvement of a third party in Dr Kelly ’s death. Rather, the features are quite typical, I would say, of self-inflicted injury if one ignores all the other features of the case.
So even Lord Hutton cannot conclude suicide without introducing ‘coronary artery atherosclerosis’ (hardening of the arteries). Even Dr. Kelly’s own GP, Dr. Malcolm Warner, did not know about this:
[2 September, Page 5, Line 7]
Q. When was the last time you yourself saw Dr Kelly?
Q. Was that for anything serious?
A. A minor complaint.
Q. Were you aware of any serious condition from which Dr Kelly suffered?
Q. We know that an MoD health check was done on 8th July. This I understand was sent to you; is that right?
A. That is right.
Q. Did it say anything significant?
Q. Are you aware of anything else which might be of significance which may have contributed to Dr Kelly's death?
Q. Is there anything else you would like to tell this Inquiry?
A. I do not think so, no.
… so how did Dr. Kelly know that his own arteries were hardening sufficiently as to ‘hasten the cause of death’ (see above), and that his method of ‘suicide’ was going to work … without leaving him with a lot of explaining to do? It must be borne very much in mind that the ‘thrust’ of the Hutton Enquiry was to show that Dr. Kelly wanted to “get away from all of the questions that he was being forced to answer by (what is commonly known as) ‘taking the easy way out’”.
In case you have not read all of the links I have supplied above, I will summarise here.
1) There is a very serious doubt that Dr. Kelly ingested 29 Coproxamol painkiller tablets, because nothing like that dosage was found in his body during the post mortem. What was found amounted to 1/3rd of a fatal dose. Other eminent forensic experts have said that the way this dosage was calculated could easily have been out by a factor of 10. Consequently it is perfectly possible that only 1/30th of a fatal dose of Coproxamol was found in Dr. Kelly’s body.
2) Only one wrist was slashed, the left wrist. The artery that is close to the skin (if a hand is held palm upward) is the Radial Artery. This is the one that a doctor will use to check a pulse, and is also the one that someone committing suicide will naturally cut. In Dr. Kelly’s case the Radial Artery was left completely undamaged. What was cut instead, was his Ulnar Artery. This one is buried deep inside the wrist, and was severed by cutting through tendons from right to left (hand held palm upwards), such that only the right side of this wrist was gashed. But the Ulnar Artery was completely severed, and the forensic experts say that, in a completely severed case, the artery retracts (elastically) and ‘closes over’ to form a blockage to the flow of blood. They say that Dr. Kelly would have lost no more than one pint of blood (and the Paramedics remarked about the ‘lack of blood’ at the scene of death). Fatal bleeding requires the loss of five pints of blood.
3) The Home Office Pathologist is on record as saying that he would have been ‘more comfortable with a full Inquest’ – rather than the Hutton Inquiry.
4) Lord Hutton concludes ‘suicide’ in his Opening Statement – in other words before any witness has said a word. Of course Lord Hutton had read all of the written statements beforehand, and so would a Coroner. However, at an Inquest, the Coroner hears evidence before coming to a verdict.
5) To commit suicide successfully it is necessary to (a) fill a bath with water, as warm as possible, and climb in, (b) to slash both Radial Arteries, and keep the cuts in the water, firstly to keep them warm, and secondly away from the air … thus preventing the natural ability to clot. If this is to be a ‘cry for help’, then it needs to be done at home, where someone else is likely to discover the situation and raise the alarm.
These are the first points to consider. There are many others, but they demand a reading of the Hutton Transcripts. If you do this, you will need to consider (amongst other things):
1) Why Dr. Kelly: Walked five miles from his home, up a steep hill, in the middle of July (post-thunderstorm heat), wearing a heavy wax jacket, to take insufficient painkillers, and to make an excruciatingly painful, but largely ineffective, incision in his wrist. “How to commit suicide successfully” is explained immediately above. Consider the difference between that method and the one this eminent Microbiologist chose.
2) Why Dr. Kelly’s body apparently moved from the position it was originally discovered, to the position in which it was analysed (and photographed) at the death scene, including why the ‘water bottle’ was ‘a necessary part of the whole suicide scenario’, and how – in conjunction with where it was found - it affects the position of the body.
3) Why the witness statement of one Detective Constable contradicts everyone else.
4) Why the witness statement of that self-same Detective Constable contradicts the statements of the original finders of Dr. Kelly’s body.
5) Why the witness statement of that self-same Detective Constable, who spent (by his own admission), roughly “25 minutes observing the scene”, is so vague in many details.
6) Why a person, in the throes of committing ‘suicide’, tidily places all of the blister slips of painkillers back into the pocket of his jacket, including the two used (and hence completely useless) ones.
7) How a person, having committed ‘suicide’, ends up flat on his back (when there is a sturdy, supportive, tree nearby). [More discussion about this below]
8) Why the wax jacket was a ‘necessary part of the whole suicide scenario’.
9) Why Lord Hutton chooses to completely ignore (1) through (8), above.
10) Whether or not each of Lord Hutton’s assertions for the suicide conclusion could just as easily be arguments supporting murder.
11) Who stood to gain if Dr. Kelly was ‘murdered’ as opposed to ‘committed suicide’.
12) Why no full and formal Inquest was held in Dr. Kelly’s case (one with the power of subpoena and cross-examination, including testimonies under oath). And whether or not a full, formal, and proper Jury Inquest would reach an ‘Open’ verdict. I know that had I been on such a Jury myself, I would have been forced to return ‘Open’ as my verdict, based on all witness statements presented to Lord Hutton. I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to your own verdict
13) Nearby, in Abingdon, is the headquarters of one of the foremost independent forensic science laboratories in the UK. I leave you to consider why Forensic Alliance were not involved in this case, in any way whatsoever.
Hmmm. There is very little that a human being can do from the position of laying flat on the back. Absolutely flat, as Dr. David Kelly was photographed and analysed. Even in the case of sleeping and copulation (being the two most obvious activities for that approximate position), certain support is more comfortable (e.g. a pillow, and/or laying sideways). Try reading a book when flat on your back. Working underneath a vehicle is possible, but most uncomfortable. Flat (totally flat) on one’s back is not the most comfortable position for any human activity, and that surely includes suicide.
So, obviously he ‘ended up totally flat on his back’ when, in the instant of death, his body could no longer support itself. OK, this means that he took all of his actions from an unsupported sitting position. Have you ever tried that? How long can you remain sitting or squatting without wanting to change position, something that would be becoming seriously difficult with a gashed left wrist? (Remember: He needs to be near the ground, so that he can reach his bottle of water … which would be extremely difficult to stand up on the “grassy, ferny, floor of the copse” – as described by the Policeman who explained why they could not take footprints). If one falls asleep from a supported or unsupported sitting position, the tendency is to fall sideways.
The other possibility is that he did it standing up, before losing consciousness. In that case, how come he managed to end up flat on his back, legs straight ahead of him, rather than in a ‘crumpled’ position (on his face would be more likely, would it not?).
In any case, if he fell from any position during the loss of consciousness, why were there no impact marks of any kind on the back or sides of his head?
And yet, nearby there is a tree, something that can provide a considerable measure of support for one’s back, and has none of the disadvantages when a of loss of posture occurs concurrent with loss of consciousness. And the two members of the Search Team stated that they found Dr. Kelly “slumped up against a tree”. They left the Detective Constable (and his two associates) in charge of the scene for approximately 25 minutes, until others started to arrive. By the time the Investigative Team and the Paramedics arrived, Dr. Kelly was ‘flat on his back’, some distance from the tree. Think about it. Everything stated here is in the Hutton Transcripts.
And, having thought about it, let’s fit the known facts to this scenario.
The water bottle is essential for a suicide conclusion, due to Dr. Kelly’s well-known aversion to swallowing tablets of any kind. It was a bottle of Evian. Consider the construction of such a light, plastic bottle – with rounded, moulded corners at the base. Standing such a bottle up on a flat surface (e.g. a table) is not difficult (however if the bottle is empty, or nearly so, then it is easy to knock over and spill the contents). Standing such a bottle (particularly when nearly full) would be a ‘work of art’ on the “grassy, ferny, ground of the copse” (as described by the Policeman).
This bottle was found to the left of Dr. Kelly’s corpse, within reach of his (undamaged) right hand. Consider the area of ‘reach’ of the right hand on the left-hand side of one’s body. There is a very restricted area of ‘reach’ in this case. The bottle was found upright, containing a “small amount of water”, “balanced on a few twigs”. Consider how easy – or difficult – standing this bottle would be for someone with a large gash in their left wrist. (At that point it would be a ‘one-handed job’, would it not? How do you move the twigs into a suitable position, such that the light, plastic, near-empty bottle will remain upright? How do you find the right kind of twigs, unless you are extremely lucky they are close to hand?)
Consider the possibility that the reason his body moved after death was due to the need to find a position for the bottle where it would stand upright, and remain within reach of his good, and still usable, right hand. The bottle is essential in order to indicate ‘suicide’.
Then consider whether or not he could, after death, have moved himself into the reach of this upright bottle “containing a small amount of water”.
And then ask yourself whether or not there was “no evidence of a third party involvement”. For example: Someone able-bodied, and mobile.
There is no evidence that either Lord Hutton, or the police, considered the possibility that Dr. Kelly had been rendered unconscious (chloroformed), injected with dextropropoxyphene (via his left wrist), then injected with something fatal and untraceable, and finally his wrist gashed to cover the hypodermic puncture marks. Obviously this is pure conjecture but, since it is a plausible possibility, and one that would explain just about all discovered facts, it surely should have been tested, and the reasons for its rejection made public?
Addendum: Of course a major component of the Hutton Inquiry was taken up by the accuracy of, and the basis for, reports issued by various journalists (with the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts at the forefront). Possibly this acted as a distraction, camouflaging the serious issue – which was that a prominent human being had died in unexplained and highly suspicious circumstances. Indeed this camouflage could be considered to be further extended on the evening before the Hutton Report was published. The Evening Standard for this afternoon bore the headline “Was Dr. Kelly murdered?”. As a possible distraction from this highly-emotive issue, the Hutton Report was ‘somehow leaked’ to the Sun editor Trevor Kavanagh. Consequently the TV headlines for that evening gave no time to the question raised by the Evening Standard, but were instead full of the whys and wherefores of the fact that the report itself had been leaked. Lord Hutton’s response to the leak was to state that he would immediately make every endeavour to discover the source of it. However no-one (to the best of my knowledge) has ever been publicly named as the source.
And, furthermore, there is another dimension to this.
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