In Dr Hunt's opinion the cause of death was:
1b. Incised wounds to the left wrist
2. Co-proxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis
I know that it has been suggested that the co-proxamol ingestion should have been placed as the primary cause of death. I'm also aware of one writer at least who considers that the heart disease was sufficiently bad that, in a sense, that should be considered as the main reason for Dr Kelly dying. For the start of this post though I will stay with Dr Hunt's assumption.
Dr Hunt observed a number of incisions, of varied lengths and depths, to the left wrist. I'm not going to repeat the quite lengthy information he provides but suggest that the interested reader go to his report http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/Publications/Documents/Post%20mortem%20report%20by%20Dr%20Hunt%2023%20July%202003.pdf
This pdf is 14 pages long and the relevant section is on page 6 under the heading "Signs of sharp force injury". Of note is the fact that the complex of wounds extended 8 cm from side to side and about 5 cm from top to bottom. Now my left wrist is about 8 cm across so it seems that the wounds when considered together occupied the full width of the wrist. The longest wound was one of 6 cm, most of the others much shorter. The deepest wound (1 to 1.5 cm deep) was at the elbow end of the complex. Surprisingly the much shallower radial artery was intact as was the radial nerve.
In talking of some of the shallower cuts Dr Hunt said: 'The impression given was of multiple so-called 'tentative' or hesitation' marks'. Dr Hunt wrote in the Sunday Times of 22 August 2010 it was a 'classic case of self-inflicted injury'. It seems to be the so-called tentative or hesitation marks that really convinced him of suicide ... if he was being honest in his assessment.
My worry is the fact that there was evidence that went against the suicide hypothesis as well. Some of this, perhaps most obviously the movement of the body, may not have been known to Dr Hunt at the time. Human nature might have played a part here as well: having seen the tentative marks was Dr Hunt then totally sold on the suicide hypothesis, even to the extent of downplaying or ignoring any contrary evidence.
Imagine for a moment malevolent third parties intent on dressing up a murder to look like suicide. They wouldn't know how sharp a visiting forensic pathologist would be. The job would have to be really convincing. An everyday criminal in this situation wouldn't consider mimicking the shallow hesitation cuts in my opinion but the security services of this or another country would be much more likely to.
There has been a suggestion that the wrist cutting covered up an injection site. I think that's quite possible. Dr Shepherd, in his report of 16 March 2011 to the Attorney General, states, without any caveats, 'there were no injection sites anywhere on the body'. This is an unverifiable statement in a report which is generally sloppy and inept. Much more on Shepherd in due course no doubt
It was one thing having Dr Hunt on board with the suicide hypothesis. What couldn't have been imagined I think was the problems created by the ambulance team in their testimonies at the Hutton Inquiry and, perhaps more importantly, their interview that went into the Observer on 12 December 2004, and talking in front of the cameras. For the paramedics to carry out such an action, fundamentally undermining the conclusions of the Hutton Inquiry, must surely be unprecedented.
I believe that the actions of Vanessa Hunt and Dave Bartlett were absolutely pivotal in bringing the suicide conclusion into disrepute.