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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Profile: Dr David Kelly
Dr Kelly
Dr Kelly was a weapons inspector in Iraq
Weapons expert Dr David Kelly was thrust into the media spotlight after being identified in newspapers as the man the government believed was the source for a BBC report on Iraq.

The scientist was used to talking to journalists behind the scenes - but he became a key figure in the row between the government and the BBC over claims that Downing Street "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons capability.

After being publicly named the 59-year-old told MPs he did not believe he was the story's main source - after admitting to his managers he had met the Today programme's Andrew Gilligan.

Two days after facing MPs he was found dead, after apparently taking his own life. The BBC confirmed on 20 July 2002 that the scientist was their principal contact.

His wife told the inquiry into his death that her husband had been utterly dismayed by the media frenzy around him.

Janice Kelly said he became: "distracted... dejected... desperate...I just thought he had a broken heart. He had shrunk into himself".

Iraq weapons inspections

At the time the story broke, the Oxford-educated microbiologist had been scientific adviser to the proliferation and arms control secretariat for more than three years.

He was an expert in arms control, working as a weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, following the first Gulf War.

Janice Kelly arrives at the inquiry on Monday
I just thought he had a broken heart

Dr Kelly became senior adviser on biological warfare for the UN in Iraq in 1994, holding the post until 1999.

He was sufficiently well respected to have been nominated for a Nobel peace prize by the man who led the Iraq weapons inspections for much of the 1990s, Rolf Ekeus.

During a lecture Dr Kelly once said: "When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, little did I realise that Saddam Hussein would dictate the next 10 years of my life."

He also led all the visits and inspections of Russian biological warfare facilities from 1991 to 1994 under the 1992 Trilateral Agreement between the US, UK and Russia.

Garth Whitty who worked with him as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq, told the BBC the scientist was "internationally regarded" as an expert in biological weapons defence who normally coped well under pressure.

"He was a quiet man who got on with his job. He did it with the highest professional standards," he said.

Rising through ranks

David and Janice Kelly had three daughters, Sian, 32, and twins Rachel and Ellen, 30. Neighbours described them as a "lovely family".

In my opinion, David Kelly and his team should have won the Nobel (peace) prize for disarmament
Rolf Ekeus
His diaries suggest he was a keen football and rugby fan and his other interests include his involvement with the Baha'i faith, acting as treasurer to its local spiritual assembly.

Dr Kelly came from a background in agricultural science and Mrs Kelly described him as a workaholic who relaxed by tending his vegetable patch.

He had been chief science officer at Britain's Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology.

He rose through the ranks at the Ministry of Defence's chemical research centre at Porton Down in Wiltshire, which he joined in 1984, to become head of microbiology.

David Kelly, government weapons proliferation adviser
David Kelly left his home on Thursday afternoon
He spent the majority of his career as a consultant to the MoD and other government departments and agencies, advising them on his area of expertise - arms control.

Part of his job was to brief journalists on defence issues. And he also had contact with MI6 director Sir Richard Dearlove and others within the Secret Intelligence Service.

The inquiry has heard how Dr Kelly was unhappy with his pay and felt the civil service grading he had been assigned did not reflect his seniority.

He was promoted to a new grading - the highest in his service - in February 2003, taking his salary to 61,000. He was not, however, told his pay had been properly assessed before his death.

The last week of Dr Kelly's life saw him at the centre of press attention, caught in the middle of the row between the government and the BBC over the dossiers on Iraq's weapons.

The expert told the select committee he could not get into his Oxfordshire home after his identity became public knowledge because of the press outside.

The BBC's Shaun Ley
"David Kelly was thrust into the limelight because of a meeting with a BBC journalist"

Garth Whitty, former colleague of David Kelly
"He was a quiet man who got on with his job"

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