Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 11:18 UK

Calls for fresh Dr Kelly inquiry

Dr Kelly
Dr Kelly was a weapons inspector in Iraq

Campaigning doctors have called for a formal inquest into the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly.

They have produced a report arguing an earlier finding of suicide was flawed.

Dr Kelly's body was found six years ago near his Oxfordshire home after he was exposed as the source of a BBC story on the grounds for going to war in Iraq.

Instead of a coroner's inquest, then Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Lord Hutton to conduct an investigation, which found Dr Kelly killed himself.

Lord Hutton's inquiry found the 59-year-old died from blood loss after slashing his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.


But according to the team of 13 specialist medics calling for a new inquiry, the cut was "highly unlikely" to have caused enough bleeding to kill Dr Kelly.

The previous examinations into Dr Kelly's death were "flawed", said retired consultant in orthopaedic and trauma surgery, David Halpin.

Mr Halpin said Lord Hutton was charged with inquiring into the circumstances surrounding the death, but not the cause itself and his inquiry had lower legal standards than a coroner's inquest.

I think it's highly likely he was assassinated
David Halpin

"Due process has been subverted," Mr Halpin said. "The group that I am part of is not prepared to let that go. There is evidence of a cover-up."

Mr Halpin described Dr Kelly as a "skilled" and "courageous" man who deserved a "proper inquest".

He said: "He was a very prominent germ and chemical warfare expert. That is relevant because of his knowledge of the biology of death.

"He had spent 10 years at Porton Down [a government laboratory] and he knew everything about killing things.

'Outstanding work'

"So to take what was said to be a blunt knife and what was alleged to be his wife's co-proxamol tablets to try to kill himself is extraordinary.

"I think it's highly likely he was assassinated."

The doctors' report explaining their rejection of the theory Dr Kelly died from cutting his wrist will be sent to Sir John Chilcot's forthcoming inquiry into the Iraq War.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who published a book about Dr Kelly's death two years ago, backed the doctors' campaign.

He said: "There are three aspects of 2003 which need to be put to bed.

"There needs to be a proper inquiry into the Iraq War; there needs to be a proper inquest into Dr Kelly's death; and there needs to be some recognition of his outstanding work.

"All we are asking for is proper legal process - we have not had it yet."

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