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18 Jul, 2009 05:31

UK top weapons expert’s suicide could be murder - dossier

A team of eight UK medical experts say that Dr David Kelly, a leading weapons inspector who was at the centre of a row about why Britain went to war in Iraq, was unlikely to have committed suicide.

Dr David Kelly was a world-renowned expert in biological warfare and a UN weapons inspector.
But his historic legacy is his tragic death, following his claims that the British government knew, ahead of the 2003 invasion, that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.

Shortly after being exposed – with the assistance of senior British government officials – as the source of the claims which emerged in the media, he was found dead, apparently having committed suicide.

That was six years ago, and this week a group of doctors is releasing a dossier saying David Kelly could not have killed himself.

They maintain he was murdered.

“The primary cause of death is given as hemorrhage. And we do not believe, as surgeons, that such hemorrhage would have been so rapid or so voluminous that Dr Kelly would have died from that. We want to see an inquest for Dr Kelly. I think it’s highly likely it will be found that there was foul play,” says Dr David Halpin, an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr David Kelly’s body was discovered in woods near his Oxfordshire home. Deaths which are not from natural causes require a formal inquest hearing under English law, to be carried out by a coroner’s court in public.

This did not happen in the case of Dr Kelly. The inquest was suspended, as the British government announced the Hutton Inquiry had been appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Kelly’s death.

Chaired by Judge Lord Hutton, they took evidence from the pathologist who carried out the post mortem on Dr Kelly, concluding the scientist had committed suicide by cutting his wrists.

The Hutton Inquiry was legally unique, using its own rules and procedures to examine the cause of a single death.

A British member of parliament says the normal rules for inquests were not applied.

“No one was required to give evidence under oath, nobody could be found guilty of perjury, there was no proper cross-examination and all the normal safeguards related to a coroner’s inquest were simply not present. A proper inquest into the death of David Kelly, that’s not happened. And even if you don’t subscribe to my view that he was murdered, you would agree, I hope, that everybody is entitled to an inquest if they die a violent death,” says Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat MP.

Murdered – but by whom? Norman Baker accuses Iraqis, but isn’t willing to say who he thinks ordered the killing.

And the maker of a film, showing in London for the first time on the sixth anniversary of Dr Kelly’s death, claims it may have been linked to his work in germ warfare research.

“No one really looked at his work in germ warfare, and he was really at the centre of the germ war research world, and was privy to a lot of very sensitive information. After looking at the forensics, we looked at the world of David Kelly, and his international connections,” says filmmaker Bob Coen.

No public coroner’s inquest has been held into Kelly's death – and the doctors say a proper, separate investigation must take place to find out what really happened.

In June, the British government announced another investigation – this time, into the country’s role in the Iraq war.

It’s already been widely criticized because it will be held largely in secret.