Doctors call for inquest into scientist’s death

Author: By Paula Fentiman, Press Association

A group of campaigning doctors have produced a report arguing that the Hutton
Inquiry’s finding of suicide was flawed and have handed it to lawyers
preparing a legal challenge.

Dr Kelly’s body was found six years ago on Friday in woods near his
Oxfordshire home after he was exposed as the source of a BBC report on the
grounds for going to war in Iraq.

Instead of a coroner’s inquest, Lord Hutton was asked by then Prime Minister
Tony Blair to conduct an investigation.

His inquiry concluded the 59-year-old died from blood loss as a result of
cutting his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.

According to the team of 13 specialist medics, however, a cut to the ulnar
artery was “highly unlikely” to have caused enough bleeding to kill Dr
Kelly.

Autopsy reports should be provided to enable their questions to be answered,
the doctors added.

One of the authors, retired consultant in orthopaedic and trauma surgery David
Halpin, said previous examinations into Dr Kelly’s death were “flawed”.

Lord Hutton was charged with inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the
death and not the cause itself and his inquiry did not have the same legal
standards as a coroner’s inquest, he said.

“Due process has been subverted,” he said. “The group that I am part of is not
prepared to let that go. There is evidence of a cover-up.” Mr Halpin,
69, who lives in Devon, described Dr Kelly as a “skilled” and “courageous”
man who deserved a “proper inquest”.

He said: “He was a very prominent germ and chemical warfare expert. That is
relevant because of his knowledge of the biology of death. He had spent 10
years at Porton Down (a Government laboratory) and he knew everything about
killing things.

“So to take what was said to be a blunt knife and what was alleged to be his
wife’s co-proxamol tablets to try to kill himself is extraordinary. I think
it’s highly likely he was assassinated.”

The doctors’ report setting out their rejection of the theory Dr Kelly died of
a haemorrhage will also be sent to Sir John Chilcot’s forthcoming inquiry
into the Iraq War.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who published a book about Dr Kelly’s death
two years ago, backed the doctors’ campaign.

He said: “There are three aspects of 2003 which need to be put to bed.

“There needs to be a proper inquiry into the Iraq War, there needs to be a
proper inquest into Dr Kelly’s death and there needs to be some recognition
of his outstanding work.

“All we are asking for is proper legal process – we have not had it yet.”

The calls come ahead of the screening in London of a documentary featuring Dr
Kelly’s work.

Investigative journalist Bob Coen’s film Anthrax War will be shown at the
Frontline Club on Friday – the anniversary of Dr Kelly’s death.

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