Sunday, 1 July 2012

Giving the "suicide" story an early spin

My last post was number 100 in this blog and I've decided that for the moment I'll get away from the scene at Harrowdown Hill, albeit temporarily, and spend a little while looking at legal rather than forensic aspects.  But before that I want to flag up the fact that on the very day the body is discovered the family are already being informed that Dr Kelly has committed suicide.  The statements reproduced here could hardly be more significant regarding the cover up.

On the 1st September Dr Kelly's half sister, Sarah Pape, is being examined by Mr Knox.  Dr Pape is a consultant plastic surgeon.  This is part of her testimony relating to the morning of 18th July, the morning the body was discovered:

I returned to my office between the next two operations, which would have been some time after 10 o'clock, and there was a message from my husband asking me to ring home. I initially thought he was just going to give me the same information, that the press would by now know. In fact when I rang him he told me that the police had found my brother's body and that it looked as though he had committed suicide.  I decided that I was not going to be able to stay at work, so I decided that I should come home at that point.

This is from the Sunday Mirror of 20 July 2003:

Dr Kelly's grief-stricken brother-in-law Derek Vawdrey attacked the behaviour of MPs on the committee.

Mr Vawdrey, 56, of Crewe, Cheshire, said: "There is no doubt that he was traumatised by it. David was devastated. He was never trained for this sort of thing unlike Alastair Campbell.""

He told how his sister, Janice Kelly, rang him on Friday morning. "Her first words were 'Are you sitting down? She then just blurted it out. She could hardly speak for the shock of being told herself. She said he'd committed suicide." He went on: "Somewhere along the line someone needs pay for this. David was driven into a corner, the pressure on him was immense.

On the day the body was discovered Mrs Kelly gave a telephone interview to the New York Times.
The third paragraph of the piece is extraordinary:

Mrs. Kelly said the police had confirmed that the body was her husband's, and that the cause of death was suicide. She declined to say what led the police to that conclusion, saying they had asked her not to discuss details of his death.  

This is an extract from Tony Blair's autobiography:

In the middle of the night Sir David Manning woke me. 'Very bad news,' he said....'David Kelly has been found dead,' he said, 'suspected suicide.' It was a truly ghastly moment.  

(At that time Blair was flying west from Washington to Tokyo, Blair started talking to Falconer at 12.10 so it was before then)

On the morning the body was discovered the only visible evidence relating to cause of death was an injured wrist and a knife nearby.  It was midday before the forensic pathologist Dr Hunt and Chief Investigating Officer DCI Young arrived at Harrowdown Hill.  Dr Hunt's detailed examination commenced at 14.10 and the post mortem wasn't completed until 00.15 on the following morning.

In a nutshell there was no justification whatsoever on Friday 18 July to say that the death was suicide or suspected suicide.


  1. Great blog, Brian. Has anyone from Thames Valley Police been questioned as to why they told Mrs Janice Kelly that her husband had committed suicide before any investigation had taken place into his death? Has anyone answered this question subsequently? Why was Janice Kelly told not to speak to anyone about her husband's death? This is most irregular policing.

  2. John, unfortunately nobody (so far as I'm aware) has either asked the question or received a response if the question has been posed.

    Thames Valley Police won't now answer any Freedom of Information requests that I make. They have declared me "vexatious"!

    I imagine that it would be diificult for them to answer the points you have made. I agree that it is most irregular policing.

  3. Margaret Hindle1 July 2012 at 23:19

    It seems that anyone who wishes to get to the truth is deemed to be vexatious!

  4. Yet....Scientist showed no suicidal signs, sister tells inquiry. At an inquest....

    Mr Green, Sept 27 2003: "Dr Kelly was reported to be suffering from stress and depression..." Where did Green get that from? It was also reported on Radio Oxford on Saturday 19 July that Dr Kelly had suffered from depression for several years. Who was peddling that??

    Mrs Kelly: ..not depressed.. (Hutton Inquiry)

    Yet before the Hutton Inquiry even started, the Observer, July 27 2003 reported: There have been reports - denied by his family - that Kelly had been suffering from depression for some time.
    Denied by whom to whom??

  5. Margaret - yes it does seem that way! I am now vexatious with the Attorney General's Office also.

  6. Felix - I have also been bemused by what Mr Green wrote, the Radio Oxford business and the Observer story. Off the top of my head these are the only references I can recall about supposed depression.

    Dr Shepherd was given access to Dr Kelly's medical notes and surely Professor Hawton would have been privy to the same information. No mention of depression from them. His GP, Dr Warner, hadn't seen him as a patient for years.

    Dr Kelly might have said to someone he felt depressed about some incident as a one off remark like anybody might. All the evidence though indicates that he wasn't suffering from depression as an illness.

  7. It would be interesting to know exactly what was said on Radio Oxford. Mr Green for instance might have heard the programme and that's how he got his information. The reporter for the Observer might have been similarly informed. This is the problem: one doesn't know in these situations if there is more than one source.