The Journal of History     Winter 2004    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dead Scientistsad

Dr David Kelly's death in July 2003 has been put down as "suicide." This blog investigates whether or not this suicide is, in actual fact, murder dressed up as suicide. In recent months, a string of scientists across the world have also died unexpectedly and in mysterious circumstances. This blog also investigates the reason for their fate.

by Rowena Thursby
December 3, 2003

A retired anaesthetist wrote to me regarding the fact that, if we are to believe the suicide story, Kelly chose not to cut the radial artery (which is the most easily accessible and the one most suicides choose) but rather to cut the ulnar artery which is much deeper inside the wrist. And not only did he cut it, he COMPLETELY SEVERED it (see Nicholas Hunt's testimony). Note what the anaesthetist says about an artery which is completely severed....

Ulnar artery

I agree with you about the cutting of the ulnar artery --- nothing about it makes any sense. In fact, as you mention, a completely transected artery retracts immediately and thus stops bleeding, even at a relatively high blood-pressure, as against a partially severed vessel which cannot retract. In fact, it is the cutting of the ulnar artery as an apparent act of suicide which arouses one's suspicion that the alleged suicide was not suicide at all. As I understand it, there is also "confusion" as regards the actual amount of blood lost. Some say there was a lot, others say a little and some say there was just a bit of dried blood. I would imagine for a man of the size of Dr Kelly to die from haemorrhage he would have to lose at least three litres of blood. At autopsy, it would also be clear that the subject had bled to death because there would be very little blood in the heart and the large vessels.

And I might add to bleed to death from a cut blood vessel is not as simple as it sounds because as the blood is lost the blood pressure falls and this, in turn, slows the blood loss. In fact, it is extremely difficult to lose significant amounts of blood at a pressure below 50-60 systolic in a subject who is compensating by vaso-constricting (contracting the blood vessels) for the blood loss. And, although the subject may lose consciousness at this BP, he may not necessarily die. As you know, in order to successfully commit suicide in this way the subject has to cut both radial arteries and prevent vasoconstriction by lying in a warm bath, a truly messy business but, clearly, a situation where one could have no doubt about what was intended. In fact, I suggest that it would be impossible to lose a "lethal" amount of blood from an ulnar artery which had been cut in the manner described for Dr Kelly.

November 30, 2003



by Rowena Thursby
28 November, 2003 Updated

When the slant put on the reporting of a case almost guarantees a suicide "verdict," it is important to focus on the players who seed this interpretation.

On 18th July 2003 the world was stunned by the news that Dr David Kelly had been found dead on Harrowdown Hill near his home in Oxfordshire. Dr Kelly had been caught in the vortex of a political storm & forced to appear before British government committees - one of them televised - investigating alleged revelations he made to the BBC journalist, Andrew Gilligan. Gilligan claimed that Kelly had revealed to him it was Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's chief aide, who inserted the questionable claim that WMDs could be unleashed in Iraq in 45 minutes, to induce the public to support a war with Iraq.
A public inquiry was set up to look into all the circumstances leading to Kelly's death. A key figure in this drama: pathologist, Nicholas Hunt, appears to have forged a new type of alchemy in forensic science - turning murder into suicide.

Nicholas Hunt, the forensic pathologist who testified before Lord Hutton in September, is one of only 35 Home Office-accredited pathologists in the UK. We might imagine, being appointed by the British government, Dr Hunt would be of the highest calibre, displaying impeccable professional judgement. Television news and drama, with their frequent references to "DNA evidence," bolster a view of the forensic pathologist as "never wrong."

However, this article highlights a number of recent cases where flawed assessments by Home Office pathologists have given rise to unsafe convictions, and explores how professional fallibility may have led to similarly erroneous interpretations from Dr Hunt regarding the death of Dr David Kelly. It also raises the more sinister possibility that Hunt's interpretations were weighted deliberately with the express purpose of convincing us this was suicide.

One case found to be unsafe as a result of another Home Office pathologist's mistake was that of Stuart Lubbock, who died in the swimming-pool of the UK entertainer, Michael Barrymore. A BBC report on the case reads as follows:

"A police investigation into the death of a man in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool may have been hampered by a Home Office pathologist's failure to spot crucial evidence..... Dr Heath was brought in when Stuart Lubbock was found dead at the entertainer's Essex home in April last year. He concluded the 31-year-old had drowned. But three other pathologists told the inquest into his death this month that marks on his face indicated he died of asphyxia, possibly from having an arm clamped round his throat during a violent sexual assault."

Two further cases showed Dr Heath's findings to be wrong. Steven Taylor, a traveller, spent 10 months on remand facing a murder-charge after Dr Heath said he had strangled his wife. But two other pathologists concluded that marks on Beatrice Taylor's neck were caused by procedures carried out by a mortuary technician. Kenneth Fraser was accused of killing his girlfriend after Dr Heath maintained that she had been hit on the head with a plank of wood. Fraser was released after four other pathologists found she had fallen downstairs. Serious errors like these are not infrequent.

In previous cases Dr Heath was also criticised for omissions. A further case where a crucial omission was made was that of Sally Clark, wrongfully accused of murdering her two children and sent to prison for life. Her conviction was overturned on appeal after it was discovered that Alan Williams, another Home Office pathologist, had deliberately withheld cerebral spinal fluid test results from the original trial. These indicated one of Clark's children had had bacterial meningitis. Dr Williams, the holder of a distinction award which boosts his salary by an extra 27,000, is currently under investigation by the General Medical Council.

Astonishingly, it is not a question of just a few bad apples in the barrel - the very system which investigates professional incompetence and malpractise is itself flawed. A Guardian article relates how, after a lengthy investigation, Paula Lannas, a Home Office pathologist, went before a police advisory board in 2001, accused of botching post-mortem examinations.

Paula Lannas's methods of investigation were described as "demonstrating a continuing pattern of inadequate and unsatisfactory examinations and breaches of accepted forensic pathology practice." When the board failed to reach a conclusion due to a "conflict of interest or lack of impartiality" - meaning that members of the board did not feel comfortable passing judgement on a colleague - the case collapsed. Senior Home Office forensic pathologist Nat Cary observed wryly, "It may be a cynical view, but I think they want to keep the lid on things."

Given that at least two of these Home Office pathologists were criticised for some years and yet remained in their jobs, it begs the question: were these government professionals huddling together for protection, or were some of these "mistakes" and "omissions" made deliberately, or allowed to pass, for political reasons?

With fallibility - and corruption - in mind, it may be instructive to review Nicholas Hunt's testimony to the Hutton Inquiry.

What is striking in Nicholas Hunt's account of Dr Kelly's death is the impression he creates of blood everywhere: blood on Kelly's jacket, on his trousers, on his left wrist, on the palm of his right hand, on the right side of his neck, and on the right side of his face. But actually he is not talking of large amounts - only of small patches smeared on the body and clothing.

Contrast this with the paramedics' assertion that, in their professional view, there was very little blood around for an arterial bleed. Normally an artery (which Hunt says was "completely severed") would produce copious amounts of blood spurting from the wound. Yet to quote paramedic Vanessa Hunt:

"....the amount of blood that was around the scene seemed relatively minimal and there was a small patch on his right knee, but no obvious arterial bleeding. There was no spraying of blood or huge blood loss of any obvious loss on the clothing."

PC Franklin, one of the police constables at the scene, reported blood being "puddled around." However, this was not what the paramedics saw contemporaneously. Vanessa Hunt and David Bartlett worked much closer to the body than the two police constables; had there been blood puddled around when they unbuttoned Kelly's shirt to put the electrodes on his chest, they would have been practically kneeling in it. Vanessa Hunt also commented "On his left arm...there was some dry blood"....." - only some blood, while Bartlett expressed surprise there was not more blood on the body itself, suggesting that is what he would expect to have found with an arterial bleed.


According to Nicholas Hunt, there "was a series of incised wounds, cuts, of varying depth over the front [inside] of the left wrist and they extended.. over about 8 by 5 cm...", some of which he describes as "hesitation marks."

Perhaps we too need to hesitate, and ask: why would this world-class scientist - and according to Keith Hawton the psychiatrist, an "extremely meticulous" man - choose such an astonishingly clumsy and uncertain method of suicide? The following information is from an internet police investigation site:

"Wrist slashing by itself is not a very effective means of committing suicide and few people actually die of it. This is especially true if the victim cuts laterally across the wrist. He or she may do substantial damage to the important tendons which control the fingers. He or she may even cut an important artery or vein but the blood vessels will immediately draw back into the muscles surrounding them, effectively sealing off any major leakage of blood."

Most people attempting suicide in this way slash both wrists with the intention of losing as much blood in as short a time as possible. They also know the importance of immersing the wrists in hot water to help prevent blood coagulation and keep the wound open. Even so, "success" is not guaranteed, and many wake up later in a tub of cold water."

Other internet sources point out that the best way to kill oneself using a knife is to make a longitudinal incision, from the crease of the inside of the wrist up to the elbow. Kelly would surely have been aware of this. It seems surprising that he chose to slash his wrist. As a professional scientist, once Head of Microbiology at Porton Down, one would imagine he might have chosen a much more effective & certain method.

But to follow Nicholas Hunt's version of events, far from acting in the precise and careful manner of a world-class scientist, Kelly apparently kills himself in the most painful manner possible. Hunt tells the inquiry that amongst the multiple incised wounds to the inside of the wrist was one much deeper wound. He says that this represented the severing of the ulnar artery. Why though, would Kelly choose to sever the ulnar artery on the little finger side - one which is deep within the wrist - rather than the radial artery on the thumb side, which is much more accessible. Moreover the ulnar artery was not just cut but COMPLETELY SEVERED. How likely is it that Kelly would cut so deep into his own wrist that he would completely sever one of the trickiest arteries to reach?

Hunt describes "hesitation marks" which "are commonly seen prior to a deep cut being made into somebody's skin." These hesitation marks might seem to indicate that this was indeed a genuine suicide - but how do we know that they were not added after the body had been removed from the scene, as part of a staged, state-sanctioned murder? An assassin might have slashed the wrist once while Kelly was unconscious & left the detail to others. There is sufficient evidence - see article, "Dark Actors at the Scene of Kelly's Death" by Rowena Thursby - to suggest that this may have been a "show" suicide, intended to dupe the layperson into believing this was suicide when it may have been murder made to look like suicide.


Nicholas Hunt next mentions abrasions to the left side of Kelly's scalp. But rather than leave the reason for those scalp abrasions open, he jumps in and tries to make them seem perfectly normal:

"... and of course that part of his head was relatively close to the undergrowth."
How many abrasions does one receive on one's head just from walking through a wood? Kelly was a seasoned and vigorous walker, fully capable of ducking under or pushing aside any branches or twigs in his way."

Lord Hutton however, appears to support Hunt's line of reasoning; he asks: "Were those abrasions consistent with having been in contact with the undergrowth?" - as if receiving abrasions from walking through a wood was an everyday occurrence! (One starts to wonder whether there might not be a degree of collusion between the questioner and the witness).

But Hunt does not stop there. His testimony starts to descend into the realms of high farce.

Pleased that Lord Hutton is uncritically following his drift he answers:
"They were entirely, my Lord; particularly branches, pebbles and the like."
Pebbles? Is this man serious? He is in a wood, not on a beach! Woods do not contain pebbles. Even allowing for a slip of the tongue - let us say he meant to say "stones" as, indeed he states later - how is Dr Kelly's scalp supposed to have come into contact with stones? He had three fresh scalp abrasions: are we supposed to believe this cool scientist, whose brain, according to Tom Mangold, could "boil water," been hitting his head repeatedly on the ground?


Hunt next attempts to explain away a number of bruises on Kelly's body:
"There was a bruise below the left knee. There were two bruises below the right knee over the shin and there were two bruises over the left side of his chest. All of these were small..."

When asked how they could have occurred Hunt states:
"They would have occurred following a blunt impact against any firm object and it would not have to a particularly heavy impact....some of them may have been caused as Dr Kelly was stumbling, if you like, at the scene."

First we have Kelly banging his head on the odd stone that happened to be lying on the floor of the wood, and now Hunt now tries to seduce us into imagining Kelly "stumbling at the scene." Why should Kelly have been stumbling at the scene? If the official scenario is to be believed, here was a man, calmly looking for a place in the wood where he could end his life. According to Keith Hawton, the psychiatrist, having made the decision to commit suicide, Kelly would have felt a sense of peace and calm. So why now are we being asked to accept as consistent the notion that he was "stumbling" around the wood?

We are reassured by Hunt there were "no signs of defensive injuries.... and by that I mean injuries that occur as a result of somebody trying to parry blows from a weapon or trying to grasp a weapon."

But what if someone, or a group, assaulted Kelly without a weapon? Perhaps the bruise on the chest for example occurred as a result of a single sharp push. It is possible that the grazes on the head could have occurred if Kelly had been manhandled. A cut on the mouth mentioned by Hunt, again may have been the result an assault.

Much is made of the possiblity of Kelly having been attacked with a knife. Why? Because a knife was found at the scene? Hunt appears to be suggesting that one of the few alternatives to suicide would have been murder at the hands of a random knife-wielder lurking in the wood. The possiblity of a small group of state-sponsored professional assassins setting up a suicide scene appears to be regarded as taboo or too hot to mention. Kelly may have been accosted before he reached the wood, abducted, and drugged - and only later placed in the copse with suicide props around him.

When seeking reasons for the cuts and bruises on the scalp, chest and mouth, why is murder-made-to-look-like-suicide not properly explored? Presumably pathologists employed by the Home Office know better than to mention such a scenario.


Throughout his testimony Hunt starts from a position of assuming Kelly's death was probably straightforward suicide:
"The orientation and arrangement of the wounds over the left wrist are typical of self-inflicted injury. Also typical of this was the presence of small cuts called tentative or hesitation marks. The fact that his watch appeared to have been removed whilst blood was already flowing suggests that it had been removed deliberately in order to facilitate access to the wrist. The removal of the watch in that way and indeed the removal of the spectacles are features pointing towards this being an act of self-harm"
Plus, he adds, the "neat way in which the bottle and its top were placed, the lack of obvious sign of trampling of the undergrouth or damage to the clothing..."and the pleasant and private location of the spot.

But is it right to start with a theory, or should the evidence be examined without pre-judgement? When facts are interpreted - or misinterpreted - through a filter of prejudice which says "this looks like suicide" crucial points may be missed.

For example, how does Hunt know the watch was removed whilst blood was already flowing? We are left to assume it is because he found blood on the watch. But blood on the watch need not mean that the watch was still on the wrist. Blood may have splashed onto the watch after it was removed. Moreover it need not have necessarily have been Kelly who removed the watch. Had he removed his own watch it would have made more sense to do so before he started cutting. Another party - a professional assassin intent on creating a suicide-scene - could have removed the watch. So the interpretation of "watch removed by suicidal man in order to gain better access to wrist" is but one possibility. Hunt alights upon this tortuous explanation either to back his prejudice or to convince his audience that this was straightforward suicide.

Unfortunately the system is set up to regard him as an expert whose interpretation is of great value. But it is still only one interpretation, and can obviously be wrong. The neat placement of the bottle & top need not mean Kelly himself had arranged them. A private spot may be considered by some an ideal location for a suicide - but by others, for a murder.

The possiblity of murder is dismissed point by point, without proper examination. No evidence was found, says Hunt, of:

- restraint-type injury
- sustained violent assault
- strangulation or use of arm hold.

But had Kelly been frogmarched through the wood with a gun to his back, violent assault or restraint would be unnecessary. And had he been overpowered by a chloroform-type substance, prior to the cutting of his wrists, we would be none the wiser. Interestingly, Hunt was questioned on this last point, which suggests that some kind of assassination was being considered, but he merely refers to the toxicologist's report, which to date has not been made available. Is it hoped that such "details" may be forgotten as the media circus transfers its focus from the details of the death itself onto whose political head will fall?


Hunt's final assessment, his own personal interpretation - "there was no pathological evidence to indicate the involvement of a third party in Dr Kelly's death.... the features are quite typical, I would say, of self-inflicted injury if one ignores all the other features of the case" - is the version of events the media reports. The pathologist has spoken - the silent inference being that he is best placed to know - so we must bow to his "expertise." But as we have seen in the introduction, such "expertise" is sometimes questionable.

In Hunt's qualifier - "if one ignores all the other features of the case" - lies the rub. Ignore the fact that Kelly had become an embarrassment to the establishment through divulging inconvenient facts & suppositions to the media? Ignore the fact that he was about to return to Iraq, where his by- now public profile would have guaranteed publicity to the dearth of WMDs? The fact that this would highlight the mendacity employed in persuading the British and American public to support a war with Iraq? The fact that here was a man scrupulous about a truth they did not want told? The fact that Kelly had met and was discussing book projects with Victoria Roddam, a publisher in Oxford who in an e-mail to the scientist only a week before his death wrote: "I think the time is ripe now more than ever for a title which addresses the relationship between government policy and war - I'm sure you would agree."?

Far from ignoring Kelly's pivotal political position at the time of his death, we should surely highlight it: as we explore the physical evidence provided at the death scene, the fact that there were elements in government and intelligence who wanted Kelly silenced has to figure prominently in understanding how he died.

Nicholas Hunt may have been a pathologist doing his job in the way he saw fit, nothing more than that. Perhaps, like other Home Office pathologists, he was displaying a degree of bias in his interpretations. Alternatively, Hunt may have been party to a degree political sorcery requiring solid indications from this key professional figure that on 17th-18th July, Dr Kelly had killed himself on Harrowdown Hill by slashing his own left wrist.
UPDATED: This is an updated version of the
article elsewhere on the Internet dated this date.

More investigations into the
circumstances of Kelly's death at
Author may be contacted at:
This investigation continues. Please write if you wish to be put on the Kelly mailing list.

November 18, 2003

A BBC report has suggested that Nicholas Gardiner, the original coroner in the Kelly case may re-open the inquest due to witness statements being withheld from the Hutton Inquiry......

Kelly inquest may be reopened

The coroner will make his decision based on Lord Hutton's report
The inquest into the death Dr David Kelly may have to be reopened because some witnesses have refused to allow their statements to be passed to the Hutton inquiry.
The original inquest was adjourned under a section in the Coroners Act which allows a public inquiry conducted by a judge to fulfil the function of an inquest.
But Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner said he may ask Thames Valley Police to hand over the evidence if he is not satisfied with Lord Hutton's findings.

A member of the Kelly Group & myself have written the following letter to Nicholas Gardiner, the original coroner in the Kelly case, urging him not only to examine further evidence, but also to review anomalies arising from testimonies already in the public domain, and to consider re-opening the inquest with a full jury present.
You may wish to write your own letter. The more pressure he receives from the public the more inclined he may be to take a maverick stand and press ahead.

Rowena Thursby

18 November 2003
Nicholas Gardiner the Oxfordshire Coroner
(City) Coroner's Office
New Post Mortem Suite
John Radcliffe Hospital
Headley Way

Cc. All National Newspapers.

Dear Mr Gardiner,

RE: The Death of Dr David Kelly

I am writing to express my deep concerns over the way the Hutton Inquiry (the Inquiry) into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly has been conducted.

In such a high profile case it is surely questionable that an inquest - where evidence is heard under oath with a jury present - be replaced by an inquiry where evidence is not given under oath and witnesses are not subpoenaed and there is no jury. I understand many witnesses refused to appear at the Inquiry and requested that their statements be withheld. In a straight inquest you, as coroner, would have powers to subpoena witnesses and require them to give evidence under oath. This would both broaden the scope from that of the Inquiry and increase the reliability of testimonies.

In addition, if Lord Hutton's final report reflects the way the Inquiry has been treated in the media, there is a great danger that anomalies regarding the circumstances of Dr Kelly's death may be disregarded or glossed over in favour of political concerns. If I may, I will in this letter outline some of these anomalies which, in my view, throw a suicide verdict into question.

The Body Moved and Items Appeared Beside It

According to testimonies the first people to see the body of Dr Kelly were the SEBEVs (volunteers) Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman. They both described the position of the body as "against" a tree. Neither of the volunteers reported seeing any of the items around the body seen by other witnesses - watch, knife, bottle of water, cap. Nor were they asked by legal counsel whether they had seen them.

Chronologically the next body-witness was DC Coe, who described the body as laying on its back. After him came two police constables PCs Franklin and Sawyer, who also described the body as lying on its back.

In fact all witnesses subsequent to the volunteers, including the pathologist (Dr Nicholas Hunt), described the body as laying on its back and having beside it various items - watch, knife, bottle of water and cap.

The body-witnesses' testimonies indicate that the body appears to have moved after being seen by the volunteers and before being seen by all subsequent witnesses, and that the items next to the body seem to have appeared after the volunteers had left the death scene (the scene).

It is also noteworthy that PC Sawyer reports that the body's jeans were "ridden up." This might be expected if the body was hurriedly dragged from a "sitting-up" position to a "laying-on-its-back" position.

DC Coe took charge of the scene immediately after the volunteers reported to him that they had found a body. It seems that either DC Coe moved the body himself, or he was aware of who did move the body. If the first two body-witness testimonies are correct, then the body was moved. DC Coe maintained that he did not touch the body and did not mention others moving the body, but if the body was first sitting-up and then laying down, and DC Coe was in charge of the scene at the time, then it can only be concluded that in some way DC Coe was involved in moving the body.

Assistant Chief Constable Page mentioned that three individuals in dark clothing were seen by a member of the public acting suspiciously near the scene at the time DC Coe was there. Although Assistant Chief Constable Page told the Inquiry that the three had been accounted for as being members of TVP, it is surely worth investigating whether or not this is actually correct. DC Coe himself might have been one of these three individuals, or have been working with them.

The Officers with DC Coe

First there is the question of the number of officers accompanying DC Coe.
Five witnesses - the two volunteers, PCs Franklin and Sawyer, and the paramedic (Vanessa Hunt) - clearly state that DC Coe was with two officers. Yet DC Coe himself, testifying some time later, maintains that he was with only one other officer - DC Shields.

Thus, in the six statements with regard to the number of officers accompanying DC Coe, all but one of them - DC Coe's own - state that there are two officers with Coe.
Second, there is the question of whether these officers were in uniform or in plain clothes.

Paul Chapman, identifying them through their Thames Valley Police ID, said they were from CID, so I infer from this they were in plain clothes. Vanessa Hunt testified that DC Coe was with two plain-clothed officers - one "search & rescue" (her interpretation of a man dressed in black polo shirt and trousers), and "one other gentleman." DC Coe himself said he was with only one other companion -- the plain-clothed detective, DC Shields.

However PCs Franklin and Sawyer described DC Coe's companions as "uniformed officers."

What are we to infer from these anomalies? If five witnesses say that DC Coe was with two men and he says he was with only one, then it is necessary to find out who is telling the truth. Similarly, if some witnesses say these officers are in plain clothes and others say they are in uniform then that needs to be clarified also. On the face of it, it looks as though DC Coe is not telling the truth about being accompanied by only one officer and that PCs Franklin and Sawyer could also be mistaken about the two officers being "uniformed."

This is surely a matter for cross-examination or much more rigorous scrutiny.

Paucity of Blood
When asked at the end of their testimonies if they have anything to add, each ambulance crew member, paramedic (Vanessa Hunt) and ambulance technician (David Bartlett), independently emphasizes that in their view, there was surprisingly little blood at the scene for an arterial bleed. These assertions may be the most important of the whole Inquiry. The implication from the ambulance crew surely is that if there was very little visible blood produced at the scene for an arterial bleed, then death may not have taken place at that spot or in that manner. Yet far from being probed or examined in any detail as they should have been, these assertions were alternately denigrated by counsel Mr Dingemans, and ignored by counsel Mr Knox.

Vomit Stains from Mouth to Ear
PC Sawyer reported a dark stain (he thought vomit) from the right corner of the mouth to the right ear. David Bartlett also reported that the body had two stains running from both corners of the mouth to each ear. Such stains are clearly consistent with Dr Kelly having vomited in a "laying-on-his-back" position but not in a "sitting-up-against-a-tree" position.

Ambulance Crew Saw no Wounds

Both ambulance crew witnessed the left hand positioned palm-up, and as Dr Hunt reports, it was the left wrist which was wounded. Thus both ambulance crew must have had a good view of the area of the arm and wrist where the five incisions reported by Dr Hunt were made. Yet neither of the ambulance crew members reports seeing any wounds. The blood may have dried onto the wounds and completely covered them but this question needs further exploration.

Ulnar Artery not Radial

The fact that the ulnar artery was severed, but not the radial artery, where the latter is generally far more accessible (closer to the surface) than the former (which is deeper) strongly suggests that the knife-wound was inflicted by drawing the blade from the inside of the wrist (the little finger side closest to the body) to the outside. This is an action that may well have been performed by another party. Yet Dr Hunt's testimony made no mention of the direction in which any of the cuts had been made. I understand that this should be normal procedure for a pathologist's report.


In summary, the points presented above lead to the following possible conclusions:
1. If an arterial bleed was the major cause of death (as stated by Dr Hunt) then there would have been more blood present at the scene of death than was seen by the ambulance crew. Very little blood at the scene suggests that Dr Kelly did not die where his body was found. While Dr Hunt and the forensic biologist (Roy Green) suggest that blood may have disappeared into leaf litter, no evidence has been publicly presented to demonstrate that this was in fact the case.

2. If the cause of Dr Kelly's death was an arterial bleed and there was very little blood at the place where he was found, this suggests he died elsewhere. As has been shown, testimonies suggest that at one point the body was sitting-up, and then later on, laying on its back. This reinforces the suggestion that Dr Kelly did in fact die in a different place and was moved to the copse on Harrowdown Hill. The body may initially have been positioned incorrectly to be consistent with livor mortis and the vomit stains on his face, and had to be repositioned. It is also possible that those setting up the "suicide-scene" were in fact disturbed in their work by the volunteers and that the reason Louise Holmes and Paul Chapman did not see any items surrounding the body was because they had not yet been placed in position.

3. DC Coe was in charge of the scene during the period when the body was moved. It is reasonable to infer from this that either he moved it himself or was aware of others doing so. Secondly, but equally importantly, DC Coe contradicts no fewer than five other witness testimonies when he claims to have been accompanied by just one (and not two) other officers. His testimony appears to be particularly unreliable.

4. Both PCs Sawyer and Franklin report that DC Coe had two uniformed officers with him - contradicting all other testimony. This suggests that their testimony needs rigorous cross-checking with that of witnesses who assert the officers were in plain-clothes.

5. The fact that the ambulance crew state that they did not see actual wounds could indicate that the five incisions in the body's left arm (or some of them) may have been inflicted after they (the ambulance crew) left the scene. An independent examination of the body, or the cause of death evidence, by a second pathologist may be required to ascertain if this is the case.

6. It is remarkable that the ulnar artery was severed rather than the radial given that the radial is far easier to cut - and hence less painful - when attempting suicide. This evidence suggests that the wrist may have been cut by another party.

I trust that you find sufficient material evidence in the above to conclude that Dr David Kelly may well not, in fact, have taken his own life and that another party was involved. If Lord Hutton's final report concludes that Dr Kelly did commit suicide, I would like to strongly recommend your original inquest into Dr Kelly's death be resumed so that testimonies can be made under oath and with a jury present.

Yours sincerely,

November 06, 2003

Reviewing some of the Hutton testimonies, I focused on the variations in the descriptions of the one or two people accompanying DC Coe*:

- DC Coe says there was one other person with him - DC Shields
- Louise Holmes says there were three "police officers"
- Paul Chapman says "three police officers" but then elaborates "they were from CID"
- PCs Franklin & Sawyer both say "two uniformed officers" were with DC Coe
- Vanessa Hunt says one DC, one search & rescue, and "one other gentleman"
- David Bartlett does not give a coherent enough description

How do we account for the differences? If my understanding is correct, detective constables are always in plain clothes, not in uniform. Both Chapman and Vanessa Hunt say that at least one is a detective. Chapman thinks they are all from CID, which would mean that they were all in plain clothes. PCs Franklin & Sawyer however, both use the same phrase: "two uniformed officers" which suggests that they have agreed beforehand this is what they would both say at the inquiry. Vanessa Hunt, along with Chapman, contradicts this & says there was one Detective Constable - Coe - but then "one search & rescue" and "one other gentleman" - which indicates that she regards them as being all in plain clothes, not in uniform.

Let's say then they were NOT in uniform and that PCs Franklin and Sawyer were covering up the fact that the three were all in plain clothes. It was important to hide the identity of at least one of them, which is why DC Coe fails to mention him in his evidence at the inquiry. So who is this mystery third man & why was it so important to hide his identity?

Maybe there is a clue in Vanessa Hunt's assertion that there was "one search & rescue":

VANESSA HUNT: "There was an officer in regulation clothing who directed us to two or three other officers in combat trousers and black polo shirts and we followed them along the track."

Vanessa Hunt had noted that Franklin & Sawyer and other search and rescuers were wearing black polo shirts. Had Coe's two companions been ordinary "uniformed officers" as Franklin & Sawyer maintain, she would have said so. Note in the quote above she talks of "regulation clothing" - so this is a phrase she could have used.

I suggest that the "third man" may actually been one of the "men in black" spotted earlier that morning - around 8:30 - 9:30 AM - by a member of the public - see Asst Chief Constable Page's second testimony - and had taken off his black balaclava (say) in order to blend in with the search & rescue team. Otherwise why would Coe not admit to the Hutton Inquiry that one of his companions was a search & rescue officer & offer us his name? So worried is he about revealing the identity of this man he denies that he even exists! It's possibly because he was NOT a search & rescue officer, but someone much more sinister, that he could not be identified.

Rowena Thursby

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Q. Who were you with at this time?

DC COE: Detective Constable Shields.

Q. It is just the two of you?

DC COE: Yes.


LOUISE HOLMES: We walked back towards the car. On the way to the car we met three police officers and Paul took them back to show them where the body was, and I went back to the car.


PAUL CHAPMAN: As we were going down the path we met three police officers coming the other way that were from CID.....
...they showed me their Thames Valley Police identification.

Q. Do you recall their names?

A. Only one of them was DC Coe.


POLICE CONSTABLE DEAN FRANKLIN: two uniformed police officers and DC Coe.


PC SAWYER: We continued walking up the hill, where I saw DC Coe and two uniformed officers.


MS HUNT: Initially there were three people on the track, what I now know to be detective constable, one was the search and rescue and there was another gentleman there.


DAVID BARTLETT: We got to the end of the lane, there were some more police officers there. I think it was two or three, I cannot remember, I think it was two, took us up into the woods which was like right angles to the track. As we walked up they were in front of us putting the marker posts in and told us to stay between the two posts.

October 24, 2003


On 11 April 2003 Victoria Roddam of Oneworld Publications in Oxford sent David Kelly an e-mail subsequent to a meeting she had with him on Friday 4th April about possible book projects.

She writes:

"As I said last week, if you can think of any other individuals who it might be useful for us to contact regarding these projects we talked about and the ideas we discussed, I would be very grateful - particularly those who might specialise in the areas where policy and ethics collide.

Also if you could suggest anyone who might be useful in authoring or recommending an author for a book on the arms trade, this would be most useful."

It looks like much of the book-project talk revolved around AREAS WHERE POLICY AND ETHICS COLLIDE.

In a later mail Ms Roddam pushes the idea again:

"In light of recent events, I think the time is ripe now more than ever for a title which addresses the relationship between government, policy and war - I'm sure you would agree."

This shows that discussions revolved heavily around these highly sensitive areas. And not only was Kelly's interest focused in these areas - he was also pointing Victoria Roddam in the direction of others who were willing to write about them. Could this be a key motive for Kelly's assassination?

I wonder, with Kelly out of the way, will the authors Kelly came up with for Ms Roddam be writing on "areas where policy and ethics collide" now?

Or will they have they got the message?

Rowena Thursby
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October 23, 2003

Steve Ward, pub landlord representing the cribbage team at the Hind's Head, David Kelly's favourite pub in Longworth, states in an e-mail sent to the Hutton Inquiry that David Kelly played cribbage on the evening of Wednesday 9th July. Eight people agreed (see here) that Kelly was not at the league game on the 7th, but was there for the friendly session on the night of the 9th.

This is very curious, given that this was the evening that he was said by Janice Kelly to have been confronted by Nick Rufford of the Sunday Times outside his house around 7:30 PM... and then at around 9:00 PM had to rush off down the motorway heading for Cornwall in order to escape the press pack Rufford warned him about.

Was the whole cribbage team wrong - all 8 of them? Or was Kelly indeed playing a friendly game with them on the night of 9th July?


Tie this in with the discrepancy between Janice Kelly's testimony and that of "Mr A" of the MoD (see below) and what do you get?

A possibility at least that David Kelly was not heading down the motorway on the night of the 9th July, but was playing cribbage in the Hind's Head. That he didn't go to Cornwall that night, but instead went the next morning, dropping off the medicine to Mr A near Swindon on his way down. And then, maybe, Janice Kelly could have been in the car.

At first I thought that would mean that the student working behind the bar in the Wagon & Horses - the one who said Kelly had come in to the pub say the press were going to "pounce" and to let the landlady and landlord know he was off to Cornwall at around 8:30 PM on the evening of 9th - was mistaken about that date. But all Kelly said in the message was that he was going away - he didn't say when.

And that would also mean Janice Kelly - for whatever reason - was lying about she and her husband leaving that evening.

So maybe the cribbage team got it wrong - or maybe they didn't. Maybe Janice Kelly has some reason for maintaining a story about leaving on the evening of the 9th. It does seem highly unlikely that a woman with arthritis was able to pack and leave the house, without any prior notice, within 10 minutes.

Editor's note: It doesn't seem likely that Janice Kelly would deceive. More likely that she errored in dates.




The Journal of History - Winter 2004 Copyright © 2004 by News Source, Inc.