Questions That Still Demand an Answer

Article excerpt

Byline: Sue Reid

Since Dr David Kelly's death in 2003, the Mail and campaigners have raised vital questions over how and why he came to die. Attorney General Dominic Grieve yesterday released a swathe of material in an attempt to answer the mysteries that refuse to go away. Here, Sue Reid examines his explanations.

QUESTION:

Why was Lord Hutton's inquiry into Dr Kelly's death not a proper inquest? Why were witnesses never compelled to appear? Why were witnesses not put under oath?

ATTORNEY GENERAL'S ANSWER:

Lord Hutton's approach was the same as a number of other public inquiries. Those witnesses he wished to give evidence all complied. He considered the quality of his investigation was not reduced by the fact evidence was not given under oath. Much of the crucial evidence was expert medical or scientific evidence.

ANALYSIS:

Campaigners believe there is a lot of unreliable evidence from witnesses that hasn't been challenged. The ONLY way to end the conspiracy theories is to hold a proper inquest.

QUESTION: Coroners' rules stipulate that the time and place of a suspicious death must be recorded but this never happened at the Hutton inquiry. Why are these details still not known?

ANSWER: It is not accepted that there is any doubt over where Dr Kelly died or the cause of death. It is not possible to determine precisely the time of death.

ANALYSIS: It seems incredible that the most basic facts needed to discover the cause of any mysterious or sudden death have not been pinned down.

QUESTION: Dr Kelly was supposed to have died from slitting his left wrist and taking an overdose of painkillers. Hutton heard he had probably taken 29 co-proxamol pills because they were missing from a pack in his jacket. However, only a fragment of a pill was found in Dr Kelly's stomach.

ANSWER: The amount found in the blood was consistent with the ingestion of 29 tablets. Co-proxamol is implicated in 300-400 overdose deaths each year and in almost a fifth of drug-related suicides. The UK National Poisons Information Service says that the fatal dose of co-proxamol may be as little as 10-20 tablets.

ANALYSIS: It is stressed by doctors that Dr Kelly had little or no co-proxamol in his stomach and only the equivalent of two tablets in his blood.

QUESTION: Why was it assumed, rather than proved, that the pills he took came from a supply belonging to Dr Kelly's wife - rather than someone who wanted to kill him?

ANSWER: The brand markings on the packets found on Dr Kelly's body were the same as those prescribed to his wife and he knew where his wife kept her pills at home.

ANALYSIS: Investigators were unable to prove conclusively the batch recovered from his body were those belonging to his wife.

QUESTION: As Dr Kelly wore no gloves, why were no fingerprints found on the pack of pills, the knife with which he supposedly cut his wrist, his watch, his glasses or the mobile phone in his jacket pocket?

ANSWER: It is not unusual for fingerprints not to be retrieved from these types of articles. …