Kelly’s death was textbook suicide, says pathologist

Aug 23, 2010
Jack Bremer

Man who conducted Kelly’s autopsy seeks to put conspiracy theories to rest

In an effort to lay to rest the conspiracy theories now circulating about the death of the government weapons scientist Dr David Kelly in 2003, the pathologist who conducted Kelly's autopsy has broken his silence to say it was a "textbook suicide".

Dr Nicholas Hunt said he had been "horrified" at the time at the way the Blair government had treated Kelly following the row over the "sexing up" of the famous Iraq dossier. But though he would "dearly love to have found something", Hunt was unable to discover any evidence of foul play when he spent eight hours examining Kelly's body.

Hunt reached the conclusion that the scientist's death at 59 had been caused by three factors - bleeding from the self-inflicted cuts to his wrist, an overdose of painkillers and an ongoing heart problem so severe that he could have dropped dead at any moment.

In going public for the first time since the Hutton Inquiry into Kelly's death, Hunt disclosed details of his autopsy report which Hutton had banned from publication for 70 years.

These included the fact that Kelly had cut himself about a dozen times on his left wrist. Some were what pathologists call "hesitation" cuts - the shallow cuts made as the victim summons up the resolve to kill themselves.

Hunt refuted recent claims that very little blood was found at the scene of Kelly's death - one of the factors raised by those who have been questioning the suicide. Hunt said there was actually a lot of blood. He had found "big clots" inside Kelly's Barbour jacket and more blood soaked into the ground.

He also revealed that because of Kelly's heart condition, two of his main arteries were 70 - 80 per cent narrower than normal. This would have greatly reduced his ability to withstand a sudden blood loss.

The Hutton Inquiry took the place of a formal inquest into Kelly's death. Hunt said he would welcome a proper inquest now so that it might establish once and for all that no third party was involved. "It was an absolute classic case of self-inflicted injury," he said. "You could illustrate a textbook with it."

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