David Kelly's wounds were typical of 'self-inflicted injury'
Quote:A 14-page pathologist’s report concluded that the weapons inspector had also taken an overdose of painkillers that could have hastened his death in July 2003, with no evidence of foul play.
Lord Hutton, who conducted a public inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death, had recommended that the report, which includes intimate physical details about the scientist, should be kept out of the public domain for 70 years to avoid distress to his widow and daughters.
But Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, decided to publish the post mortem report on the internet, together with a six-page toxicology report, “in the interests of maintaining public confidence” in Lord Hutton’s findings.
Dr Kelly, 59, was found dead in woodland near his home in Longworth, Oxfordshire, after he was identified as the source of a BBC story claiming the Blair government had “sexed up” a dossier on Iraq’s weapons capability. Lord Hutton later concluded he had committed suicide.
Nicholas Hunt, the pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination of Dr Kelly’s body, found cuts up to 1.5cm deep in his wrist, which had “completely severed” an artery.
The cuts were “consistent” with having been caused by a Sandvik pruning knife found next to him and had caused “the loss of a significant volume of blood”, in keeping with heavy bloodstaining on his clothes and around his body.
Three empty blister packs of the painkiller co-proxamol, with just one tablet left out of 30, were found in the pocket of Dr Kelly's Barbour jacket, suggesting he could have taken up to 29 tablets.
Dr Hunt said toxicology tests suggested he had consumed “a significant quantity” of the tablets, but had then vomited, meaning the pills “may not ordinarily have caused death in their own right”.
While the “main factor” in his death was the cuts to his wrist, the overdose, coupled with hardening of the arteries, “would both have played a part in bringing about death more certainly and more rapidly”.
Dr Hunt added that the choice of a "very pleasant yet relatively private spot” and a "lack of obvious signs of trampling of the undergrowth or damage to clothing" all pointed to suicide.
There was "no positive pathological evidence" Dr Kelly had been the victim of "a sustained, violent assault", or that he had had his neck compressed "such as by manual strangulation, ligature strangulation or the use of an arm hold", he added.
There was no evidence that the body had "been dragged or otherwise transported to the location at which his body was found".
The publication of the reports did not, however, satisfy some of the most outspoken sceptics, who still believe Dr Kelly might have been murdered to silence him and who renewed their demands for an inquest.
Dr Michael Powers QC, who represents a group of doctors campaigning to overturn Lord Hutton’s findings, said there was “nothing new” in the documents and a “major conflict” remained over some of the evidence.
To date, no inquest has been held, because the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, ruled that the Hutton Inquiry made one unnecessary.
Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, is expected to decide before Christmas whether to order an inquest, but Whitehall sources suggested he would only do so if “new evidence” came to light.
Peter Jacobsen, the solicitor who represents Dr Kelly’s widow Janice and daughters Sian, Rachel and Ellen, said the family had no comment to make on the decision to release the documents.
Lord Hutton insisted there had never been any “secrecy” surrounding the post-mortem report because “it had always been available for examination and questioning by counsel representing the interested parties during the inquiry”.
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