Saturday, 27 November 2010

Husband and Wife communication problems

One of the really troubling matters I've found in looking at the testimonies at the Hutton Inquiry is the evidence given by Mrs Kelly.  Compared with just about every other bit of information I can find relating to the final week or so of Dr Kelly's life the impression I get from her is of her husband being very downbeat and miserable and at times hardly eating.  So why was she painting such a dark picture of the way he was compared with one's other perceptions?

The first thing I would say is that to all intents and purposes David Kelly had two marriages, the first one obviously to Janice Kelly and the second to his job, or one could almost say his vocation.  Of course this situation wasn't unique to the Kellys but marriages of their sort would be in the minority I'm sure.  It wasn't just Dr Kelly's devotion to his job but we find that he was quite frequently away from home and even when at home writing reports, dealing with emails, making phone calls and so on.

In her evidence at the Inquiry Mrs Kelly is quite vague about what her husband's job entailed.  I believe that Dr Kelly had his own difficulties in talking to her about the nature of his work.  It seems that he had no such problem in talking to other women about what he was or had been doing, women such as Mai Pederson and Dr Olivia Bosch.  Of course such people were well versed in the sort of technical matters that Dr Kelly was engaged in.  There has been speculation about Dr Kelly having an affair, my own response is that we don't know about any such thing and I'm certainly not going to get into any such possibility.  I'll just make the point that I believe that Dr Kelly had some communication problems with his wife, particularly regarding the nature of his work and we should remember much of this would have been off limits regarding discussing with anyone other than ones colleagues.

On the evening of Wednesday 9th July the Kelly's are alerted that following the revelation that Dr Kelly was the source for the Andrew Gilligan report the press were on their way and it might be a good idea to disappear from the home in Southmoor and lie low for a few days.  To me this situation must have been very traumatic for them both.  Here are a couple who are very private, who in the blink of an eye are hurled out of their comfort zone.  We tend to think of our homes as our little fortresses, places very reassuring, very private.  In a sense if just one person was in this predicament then it wouldn't be so bad but in this instance I suspect that not only were David and Janice Kelly both very tense on their own accounts but extremely worried about each other.  It seems from Mrs Kelly's evidence that they had a problem with both communicating and sharing their concerns.  We must remember that, in effect, fleeing from their own home they were very much in uncharted territory.

Some of Janice Kelly's evidence relating to the time she and her husband sped off to Cornwall is difficult to believe and an incident involving another scientist "Mr A" on Thursday 10th July leads one toward the conclusion that either Mrs Kelly or Mr A were either mistaken or lying with regard to their testimonies.  I'll blog about this on another occasion.

Suffice to say at the moment that it seems that the Kelly's inability to talk about David's job dates back a long way and that the very difficult situation they found themselves in that July just compounded the situation.

UPDATE: Since writing the above I have read a piece from the MailOnLine for 29 August 2003. I have added a comment about it on this post.



  1. On a slightly tangential note, Brian, Rowena Thursby did investigate the mysterious trip to Cornwall in 2003 in this blog post

    I had always thought it was bizarre and unverifiable. Indeed,several witnesses were expressly brought to the Hutton Inquiry to prove through hearsay that the Kellys were in either Mevagissey or Weston-super-Mare. Both the reasons for leaving and the speed of it were quite spurious. We must ask ourselves what was this "lost two days period" all about?
    All the more perplexing is that Lord Hutton allowed (one of the rarer open documennts on the website) publication of an email from the landlord of the pub in the adjoining village of Kingston Bagpuize which suggsted strongly that Dr Kelly was indeed still in the village that evening - (TVP/3/0100). So why release a document which flies in the face of other oral statements? All very confusing.

  2. Brian,
    To come back to the relationship issues between DK and his wife.
    I believe that Mrs Kelly may well have been suffering from some kind of depression at the time of her husband’s death. We must remember she does not enjoy the best of health and if we read some of the many books and papers published by our friend Dr Keith Hawton, she was as a regular user of coproxamol a classic candidate for suicide herself.
    So not really an ideal person to be answering questions on someone else's state of mind.

  3. Frank - I think it is all too OTT and should be discounted on that score.
    Brian - I really considier that the answers are evasive, as with many of the witnesses ,yet full of surprising detail, like paras 23/25
    " He felt that the MoD were not quite sure how to use his expertise at times, although I have later seen his manager's reports on his staff appraisals where he obviously did warrant his or respect his expertise"

    "Well, he often found that he was doing perhaps slightly lower order jobs than he might be doing. He was filling his time giving briefings, giving speeches, key note speeches and others when perhaps he might have been more involved in perhaps higher level policy making. There was a letter I came up with where it was suggested that David should be used in policy making rather more than he was being."
    She seems quite on the ball to me
    I have just re-read Mrs Kelly's testimony and it is incredible
    "I had never known him to be as unhappy as he was then.
    Q. His unhappiness you could feel?
    A. It was tangible.
    Q. You could see it as well?
    A. Absolutely, palpable."
    Who wrote this stuff?
    " he was a very shy, retiring guy" Really? On Weapons inspections, in Russia, in Iraq?

    I have counted the word TIRED 22 times in Mrs Kelly's testimony about her husband in the week leading up to him going for his walk. Mrs Pape rows in with 4 tireds (and one for herself) and Rachel Kelly with 4 tireds. I just ask myself, does that equate with his appearance (excluding the misleading TV images and deliberately chosen newspaper images) before the committees and the transcripts of those inverviews on 15/16 July? Why is this picture being painted, other than to point to suicide?

    Finally, why did Dr Kelly not stay in his own home alone for 3 nights (July 13-15)? Had he been warned that someone was trying to kill him? Did other parties have access to the house then?
    Could Dr Kelly not look after himself for 3 nights? (I doubt it)
    Would we be able to find any evidence that he or Mrs Kelly had been in Cornwall - visits to the Eden Centre, garages, pubs cafes, till receipts,bank transactions,etc? Probably not.

  4. One has to remember what was going on the other side of the Atlantic at the very same time -former diplomat Joseph C Wilson had written in the New York Times on 6 July that the US had sexed up (my interpretation) the intelligence relating to Iraq's nuclear (rather than Chem/Biol) capabilities.
    All very symmetrical except that it was Wilson's wife Valerie Plame who was outed in the press as a CIA agent and Wilson didn't "commit suicide".
    Time line here. Note all the activity around 7-14 July 2003.

  5. Felix,

    You're right. The "missing two (or so) days" is a particularly interesting period.

    Without, say, access to the mobile phone records then I'm not sure how we can currently make progress on this.

  6. Felix,

    As you say "Who wrote this stuff?".

    IF Thames Valley Police did a thorough job then they should KNOW whether the "flight to Cornwall" stacks up. They have the mobile phone records etc.

  7. Felix,

    You don't think Janice Kelly could have been an agent for the CIA or somebody?

    She must have had security clearance, since she was allowed to stay in the Kelly house with many of David Kelly's documents, during his trips abroad etc. From a practical point of view she would be responsible for security while David Kelly was away.

    Why shouldn't she be an agent for somebody?

    Intrinsically, no reason at all, as far as I can see.

    You don't have to have sound joints to be an agent.

  8. Felix

    Regarding the end of your 04.50 comment you query why Dr Kelly couldn't have stayed at his own home for the nights you mention. Well I'm sure he could. You may recall that he was offered the opportunity of staying in a hotel in London at that time but wasn't enthusiastic about it. Rachel suggested he might like to stay at her home in Oxford which one supposes would be convenient for the London trains. I suspect that he was better able to talk to Rachel than his wife in fact and he and Rachel seemed to have a particularly strong bond. So his staying at Rachel's home for that short time doesn't surprise me at all.

  9. Andrew

    Janice Kelly an agent for the CIA or somebody? That's an intriguing possibility - nothing would surprise me now regarding the death of Dr Kelly! Certainly the description of the state of mind of her husband just doesn't match up with anything else we are aware of. I had thought that Mrs Kelly was laying it on a bit to get back at the MOD and possibly enhance any financial settlement. But she might have other reasons to lock into the suicide scenario.

  10. Frank

    I would agree with you about Mrs Kelly not being the ideal person to answer questions about someone else's state of mind. I mentioned in my reply above to Felix how I thought DK was better able to talk to Rachel than his wife. It's possible I believe that Mrs Kelly was having some mental health issues in the period leading up to her husband's death.

  11. Brian -
    Did you read Page 138 from the evidence of Wing Commander Clark in this connection ?

  12. Felix - funnily it was only a couple of days ago that I was reading what Wing Commander Clark said at the Inquiry. The extract that you refer to really confirms my strong opinion that it was Janice Kelly who was taking things really badly at the time and that Dr Kelly was mindful of this situation.

    Through past events Dr Kelly must have developed a great deal of mental toughness. If the Kellys did indeed flee their home on the evening of the 9th I reckon that the trauma for Mrs Kelly would be far more severe as it seems possible that she may never have had to face particularly challenging circumstances until that moment.