Documents back Kelly suicide report
Published 22/10/2010 | 02:02
Secret medical documents have backed official conclusions that weapons inspector David Kelly killed himself as the Government sought to end speculation over his death.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said he was publishing the documents on how Dr Kelly died "in the interests of maintaining public confidence" in Lord Hutton's inquiry into the scientist's 2003 death.
Lord Hutton denied the reports, which found Dr Kelly's wounds were "typical of self-inflicted injury", had been concealed and said he asked for them to remain secret for 70 years "solely in order to protect Dr Kelly's widow and daughters" from distress.
"My request was not a concealment of evidence because every matter of relevance had been examined or was available for examination during the public inquiry," he said. "There was no 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."
The law lord said his inquiry was "open and public" and none of Dr Kelly's family, the Government or the BBC "asked for leave to question or challenge by cross examination" witnesses whose evidence "led to the conclusion that Dr Kelly had committed suicide and had not been murdered".
These included the pathologist Nicholas Hunt, leading suicide expert Professor Keith Hawton, the director of the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford and others, said Lord Hutton.
But the post-mortem examination and toxicology results were published after doubts over Dr Kelly's death refused to go away, with several doctors calling for another examination of the case.
Releasing the documents on the Ministry of Justice website, Mr Clarke said: "I am publishing these reports in the interests of maintaining public confidence in the inquiry into how Dr Kelly came by his death. While I firmly believe that the publication of these documents is in the public interest, I am mindful that the contents may be distressing. I hope that the privacy of Dr Kelly's family will be respected at this difficult time."
Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003 after he was identified as the source of a BBC story claiming the Government "sexed up" its dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.
In the outcry that followed, Tony Blair appointed Lord Hutton to head a public inquiry into his death. Unusually, the then lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, ruled it should also act as an inquest. The conclusions of the post-mortem examination by Nicholas Hunt matched those of Lord Hutton's report.