David Kelly – what is behind the conspiracy theories?
Nick Collins|The Telegraph
An inquest ruled that Dr David Kelly, who was found dead after being identified as the defense source who cast doubt over the claim in a government dossier that Saddam Hussein could fire nuclear weapons at 45 minutes’ notice, committed suicide. But conspiracy theorists remain unconvinced – here are some of their reasons.
According to the official inquest into his death, Dr Kelly died from loss of blood. But last year nine doctors wrote an open letter claiming that it was “extremely unlikely” that he could have lost enough blood to kill him – about 2,700ml (nearly five pints) – through a severed ulnar artery in one wrist.
The doctors described the initial inquest as “unsatisfactory” and called for a new investigation, also citing a lack of blood where the body was discovered as evidence that Dr Kelly did not die from blood loss.
As well as questions over whether the cut to Dr Kelly’s wrist was sever enough to kill him, there are also bones of contention among conspiracy theorists over the mechanics of how it was made.
Friends claimed Dr Kelly had injured his right arm to such an extent that he could barely cut steak, raising questions as to how and why he cut his left wrist. In addition cutting one’s own wrist would usually sever the radial rather than the ulnar artery due to the direction of the cut, prompting some to believe it was made by someone else.
Finally, despite the fact Dr Kelly was not wearing gloves there were no fingerprints on either the knife or the bottle of tablets.
The Hutton report claimed that an overdose of painkillers taken by Dr Kelly would have been a contributing and accelerating factor in his death, following a post-mortem examination which showed he had heart problems he had been unaware of.
But other doctors disagreed, claiming the dose of Co-proxamol taken by Dr Kelly was not strong enough to kill him, with blood tests showing the concentration of dextropropoxyphene – one of the two drugs that makes up Co-proxamol – was at the lower end of the scale for a successful suicide dose.
Another factor in Lord Hutton’s suicide verdict was evidence from psychologists who claimed that, based on interviews with his family and analysis of his correspondence and evidence leading up to his death Dr Kelly had been burdened by a significant amount of pressure.
However, other experts claimed Dr Kelly had shown no signs of wishing to end his life and that in any other case, coroners would have reached an open verdict due to insufficient evidence. They particularly pointed to the fact Dr Kelly had arranged to meet his daughter Rachel on the evening of his death, but did not leave her a note.
The fact that Lord Hutton ordered the post-mortem documents to be kept secret for 70 years was just one incident that caused conspiracy theorists to distrust those with access to the evidence.
Other curious aspects of the case include why Graham Coe, the detective who came across Dr Kelly’s body, did not initially tell the inquest there was a third man at the scene along with himself and his partner, DC Colin Shields, and why he refused to name him.
There are also questions over why the body was not detected by a helicopter equipped with heat-seeking technology which flew over the area shortly after Dr Kelly died.