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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 July, 2003, 04:54 GMT 05:54 UK
Papers point finger of blame
Sunday newspapers
The apparent suicide of Iraq weapons expert Dr David Kelly has prompted Sunday's newspapers to ask who is to blame for the tragedy.

The Observer says the weapons expert's grieving family had blamed both the government and the BBC for the events leading up to his death.

The family had issued a statement saying "events over recent weeks made David's life intolerable and all of those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact".

In the paper, Blair ally and former Cabinet minister Peter Mandelson launches an attack on the BBC and what he sees as its role in the row.

He accuses the corporation of being obsessed with a "vendetta" against the prime minister's director of communications Alastair Campbell.

This obsession has lead to a breakdown in the relationship between Downing St and the BBC, Mr Mandelson says.

The Sunday Times says Dr Kelly had initially been told his name would not be made public after he told MoD officials he believed he was the source for the BBC's story that Downing Street had "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons capabilities.

Dr Kelly told the newspaper - in an interview it believes to be the last he gave before he died - that he was shocked his name would be made public and that he felt profoundly let down by the ministry.

Blair's 'ordeal'

Many papers focus on a press conference held in Japan where Tony Blair has been on an official visit as part of his Far East tour.

A Mail on Sunday reporter shouted out: "Have you got blood on your hands, prime minister? Are you going to resign over this?"

The Mail, describing the crisis as "the toughest ordeal of [Mr Blair's] political career", said he almost broke down under the intense grilling.

The Sunday Telegraph says Mr Blair was "visibly shaken" by the question, and remained silent.

'Tough man'

The Telegraph says BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan finds it difficult to believe that such a "tough man" as Dr Kelly, a man willing to stand up to the Iraqis, would kill himself over the dossier row.

Mr Gilligan told the newspaper he was not going to resign over the crisis.

The Independent quotes BBC Radio 4 Today programme host John Humphrys as saying it was "nonsense" that the BBC had pushed Dr Kelly to suicide by refusing to confirm he was not Mr Gilligan's source.

Asking "Who will take the blame?", the Independent says neither scientists, reporters nor Mr Campbell should be in the dock, but the prime minister.

In an editorial, the Independent calls for a wider inquiry into why Britain entered into a war that has claimed not only people's lives but the nation's trust in its leaders.

Meanwhile, the Mail says it has information that Dr Kelly was the main source for the BBC story, an assertion confirmed later on Sunday when the BBC said Dr Kelly had been its principal source.


The News of the World asks: "Has Blair got blood on his hands? No. Are the BBC to blame? Maybe."

The newspaper says that once Dr Kelly's name was made public, the BBC did nothing to defend him.

In an article published before the BBC's statement, it adds that if the BBC do not come clean about Dr Kelly's role, "it is the reputation of the BBC that will be covered in Dr Kelly's blood".

Dr Kelly's friend and journalist Tom Mangold writes in the Mail on Sunday that the "fog of venom" surrounding his death was beginning to clear.

The MoD adviser's daughter Ellen told Mr Mangold there was had been no single tipping point for her father, but that pressures on him had accumlated.

Press aide

The Mail also names an MoD press aide who gave Dr Kelly's name to the press.

Pam Teare, director of news at the ministry, said she confirmed his name to one paper, but only after it had been put to her.

The Sunday Mirror said government officials were concerned that Dr Kelly had disclosed "a killer fact".

It reports that police teams have begun checking Dr Kelly's home, computer and phone records to find out more about events leading up to his death.

And in a column written by its reporter in Japan, it says Mr Blair was "stripped of his dignity on the world stage" as he was asked if he had blood on his hands.

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