Dr Kelly's self-esteem was hit
It is "well nigh certain" that Dr David Kelly committed suicide as he realised his difficulties were continuing to mount, a psychiatrist has told the Hutton inquiry.
As a private man, Dr Kelly would have found it "extremely painful" to be named as the possible source for the BBC story about the government's Iraq dossier, said suicide expert Professor Keith Hawton.
Taking a form more like a typical inquest, after two weeks dominated by politics, the inquiry also heard from the last person to see Dr Kelly alive and the search teams who found his body on 18 July.
Prof Hawton showed the inquiry some of the e-mails Dr Kelly sent in the hours before he went missing on 17 July, explaining his problems but also showing optimism.
Set up after apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly in July
Dr Kelly was government expert in Iraq weapons programmes
He was named as source of controversial BBC report
Report alleged government had 'sexed up' a dossier on Iraq's weapons capability
Government denies the allegations
In one message, he wrote: "It has been difficult. Hopefully it will all blow over by the end of the week and I can travel to Baghdad and get on with the real work."
Earlier that morning, a Ministry of Defence official had e-mailed him to say more parliamentary questions about his media contacts needed to be answered, but stressing there was plenty of time.
Prof Hawton, director of the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University's department of psychiatry, said: "It is likely that he would have begun to perceive that the problem was escalating, the difficulties for him were escalating and that the prospects for an early resolution of his difficulties were diminishing."
Dr Kelly was a perfectionist who might have tended to bottle things up, he suggested.
"The importance of the problems he was facing shortly before his death was that these really challenged his identity of himself, his self esteem, his self worth, his image of himself as a valued and loyal employee and as a significant scientist."
A lay person could not have predicted what eventually happened, he added.
Dr Kelly was last seen alive about a mile from his home
The inquiry heard last month that Dr Kelly told a UK diplomat months before his apparent suicide in an Oxfordshire woodland that he would probably be found "dead in the woods" if Iraq was invaded.
Prof Hawton considered that just a throwaway remark, saying: "I think it is pure coincidence."
Explaining why he thought Dr Kelly had committed suicide, he said the scientist's injuries were consistent with somebody cutting themselves.
He also said he had taken about 30 coproxomol tablets - a number which it would be very difficult to force someone to take without a struggle of some sort.
Earlier on Tuesday, the last person to speak to Dr Kelly alive, neighbour Ruth Absalom, told the inquiry Dr Kelly had seemed his "normal self" when she met him on his final walk.
Ms Absalom said: "He said 'Hello Ruth' and I said 'Oh hello David how are things?' He said 'Not too bad.'
"He stood there for a few minutes then Buster my dog was pulling on the lead, he wanted to get going. I said 'I will have to go David', he said 'See you again then Ruth'. And that was it, we parted."
Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Webb said Dr Kelly's family thought he had become ill somewhere as police and volunteers searched for him.
Louise Holmes, who with her border collie dog Brock was part of search team, found Dr Kelly's body slumped against the bottom of a tree in woods on Harrowdown Hill.
Ms Holmes said there had been a lot of blood on his left arm, which was bent back "in a funny position".
But David Bartlett, one of the ambulance paramedics who pronounced Dr Kelly dead, said he was surprised there was not more blood if it was an "arterial bleed".
Pc Dean Franklin said near the body there was a lock knife with a 3-4 inch blade with blood on it. There was also an open bottle of water.
A search of the area had revealed no sign of a struggle, he said.
Among items found at Dr Kelly's home was a photo of Dr Kelly in Moscow in 1993 with a man bearing a "striking resemblance" to BBC Andrew Gilligan, the BBC journalist who sparked the Iraq dossier row.
Pc Martyn Sawyer said police officers had disagreed about whether it was Mr Gilligan. The photo will be presented to the inquiry on Wednesday.
The inquiry also heard from Barney Leith, a member of the Baha'i faith to which Dr Kelly converted in 1999.
Mr Leith said the faith condemned suicide as "an undue curtailment of the life that should be lived to the full" but would have great sympathy for somebody who had killed themselves.