Family tells of intolerable pressure of events




By Mark Huband

Financial Times, 21 July 2003

David Kelly vented his frustration with the “dark actors playing games” in an e-mail apparently sent on the day he died.

Although the communication – with an American journalist – did not name names, it indicates the deepening angst felt by the scientist in his last days. Mr Kelly was also quoted as telling the Sunday Times he was “shocked” by what had happened. “I was told the whole thing would be confidential,” he is reported as having told the paper.

His family issued a statement on Saturday, talking of how his life had been rendered “intolerable” by the pressures of events. Mr Kelly was found dead on Friday morning having walked to a local beauty spot and – it would seem – swallowed pain killers and cut his wrist.

From their Southmoor, Oxfordshire home, Mr Kelly’s wife Janice and one of her three daughters were taken on Saturday morning in an unmarked police car to the John Radcliffe Memorial Hospital in Oxford. There they had the traumatic task of identifying the body of the 59-year-old scientist.

At just after 2pm, Thames Valley police then issued a statement: “A post-mortem has revealed that the cause of death was haemorrhaging from a wound to his left wrist. Whilst our inquiries are continuing there is no indication at this stage of any other party being involved.”

An open packet of the prescription-only pain killer Co-proxamol was found near the body, police said. The evidence suggested that the Co-proxamol had been used to diminish the pain after Mr Kelly had cut his wrist with a knife also found at the site.

Three hours later the family issued a statement which said: “Events over recent weeks made David’s life intolerable and all those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact. It is hard to comprehend the enormity of this tragedy. We appeal now to everyone to afford us the privacy to grieve in peace and to come to terms with our loss.”

Mr Kelly’s last public appearance had been before the Commons foreign affairs committee where he was severely mauled by some MPs. The committee subsequently concluded he was unlikely to be the BBC’s source – a conclusion that leaves members looking foolish today.

On Saturday, Andrew Mackinlay, a Labour member of the committee who had been the most harsh when Mr Kelly appeared before it, issued a statement of regret. Mr Mackinlay suggested to the weapons inspector that he was “chaff” who had been “set up” as a “fall guy” for the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Mackinlay said: “I deeply regret Dr Kelly’s death. I am sorry for any of the stress that, albeit unintentionally, I may have caused him during his questioning before the foreign affairs select committee. I wish to express my sincere condolences to his wife and family.”


© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2008.