Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Dr Kelly, Mrs Kelly and journalist Nick Rufford

Wednesday 9th July was a particularly significant day in the lead up to the death of Dr David Kelly, it was the day that Mrs Kelly states that she and her husband fled from their home in Southmoor to escape the attention of the Press.  I shall write about that in more detail in a subsequent post but now I want to concentrate on earlier events that day.

This is the relevant part of an exchange between Mr Dingemans and Mrs Kelly concerning her husband's activities on 9th July:

Q. On the 9th July, do you know where he was?
A. Yes.
Q. Did he go to London?
A. Yes, he was supposed to be going to London so I was quite surprised when he said he was going to work in the garden all day. Again he got on to his vegetable patch and was working in a rather lacklustre way that particular day but he did receive and make some phone calls as well.

Now we can look at part of the testimony of Sunday Times journalist Nick Rufford given to Mr Knox on 21 August ie prior to that given by Mrs Kelly (the first question in this piece relates to an article written by one of Mr Rufford's colleagues Tom Baldwin.  The MOD had adopted a policy of confirming the name of Andrew Gilligan's alleged source to the first journalist who guessed it correctly)

Q. That was the article printed on Saturday 5th July?
A. Correct.
Q. Did you then try to call Dr Kelly?
A. The next morning I did, yes.
Q. So that would be on Wednesday 9th July?
A. Correct.
Q. And what happened?
A. He was not there but I spoke to Janice Kelly.
Q. What was said in that conversation?
A. I asked Janice Kelly whether Dr Kelly had gone to Iraq and she said that he had not, that he had postponed his departure and that in fact he had gone to London 

Q. Did you decide to do anything after this conversation?
A. In the afternoon, I decided to drive down and see Dr Kelly.
Q. And at what time did you start driving down -- I should ask you from where were you going to be driving down?
A. From London. 
Q. At what time did you begin driving down?
A. Late afternoon, I believe. 
Q. Would you be able to put a time to it, an approximate time to it?
A. Probably about 4-ish, 4 or 5.
Q. The reason I am asking is this: it appears that Dr Kelly's name was confirmed certainly to a Financial Times journalist late in the afternoon. I was wondering whether at the point you began driving down you yourself were aware that Dr Kelly had been named or his name had been confirmed by the Ministry of  Defence?
A. I was not aware that his name had been confirmed and I did not know at that stage that Dr Kelly was or was the person that had spoken to Andrew Gilligan.
LORD HUTTON: Why were you going down then on that afternoon, Mr Rufford?
A. Because I thought the accumulation of clues pointed to Dr Kelly quite strongly and I thought that I would go down and see if I could persuade him to talk to me about it.

MR KNOX: You did not yourself try to talk to the Ministry of Defence press office that day, that is to say 9th July? 
A. Not at that stage. I spoke to the Ministry of Defence in the evening of 9th July after I had spoken to Dr Kelly.

Knox doesn't seem to be on the ball here, not querying how 9th July happens to be the day after the 5th!  Mr Rufford gives his story again when called back to the inquiry on 24 September - I haven't done a line by line check as yet but his two testimonies seem to tie together pretty well from a cursory look.  On his second visit to the inquiry Mr Rufford again says he unsuccessfully tried to contact Dr Kelly on that day but doesn't mention Mrs Kelly this time.

There is agreement that Mr Rufford arrived at about 7.30 pm that evening and that Mr Rufford spoke to Dr Kelly at the garden gate.  As to how long they talked Mrs Kelly stated: 'The conversation only took place over about four or five minutes maximum.'  This is somewhat at variance with Mr Rufford's recollection that he was with Dr Kelly for about a quarter of an hour.

'The press were on their way in droves'  is how Mr Rufford put it according to Mrs Kelly yet according to The Sunday Times man it was Dr Kelly who informed him about his (Dr Kelly's) name being in the public domain.  Dr Bryan Wells, Dr Kelly's line manager says he got the information about Dr Kelly's name being outed to David Kelly via two mobile phone calls while he was on the train the times of these calls being 19.03 and 19.09.  Although he was on a train Dr Wells was convinced that he had been able to adequately get the message across to Dr Kelly.  This then was about 20 to 25 minutes before Mr Rufford turned up.  Oddly Mrs Kelly doesn't seem to make any reference to these important phone calls. 

There is more to blog about following the departure of Mr Rufford from the gate of the Kelly home but I'm stopping at this point otherwise this post will become unwieldy.  Certainly there are peculiarities in the subsequent events which I shall attempt to address in the next post or two.


  1. The testimony of Rufford is so riddled with inconsistencies and oddities I don't know where to start.
    For instance, at TVP/2/0010-8 the MoD only gives one contact with Rufford in 2002 and yet the (undated) and proven contact prior to the 13 July Article seems to have been added to the fax for the Inquiry.
    Mrs Hutton says he only came to the house with an invitation (implying more contacts) and yet Rufford said he was wont to drop round to Southmoor on Tuesdays to pick up news (yet admitting to only receiving about 20 emails from Dr Kelly in 5 years!)

    I cannot undersand what Mrs Kelly means that her husband has postponed his trip to Iraq - there is nothing in his diary until a queried date on 25 July.
    Rufford rings the Kelly house in the morning of 9 July to learn Dr Kelly has gone to London,(yet this contradicts Mrs Kelly's evidence ...
    "Q Did he go to London?
    A. Yes, (meaning No!) he was supposed to be going to London so I was quite surprised when he said he was going to work in the garden all day."
    yet he heads for Southmoor, with the time of the journey rapidly going back to late why did he not try to contact the MoD directly if he thought he had guessed correctly (not difficult for those in the know)? But Rufford says he told his News Editor that he had been trying to contact Dr Kelly all day (why not contact the MoD press office which he had no trouble doing later that evening?)...

    In a brief chat at Southmoor, during which Rufford was neither invited into the house OR GARDEN, Rufford seemed to have amassed a sizeable amount of detail which might have emerged over a much longer and more congenial meeting. It just isn't credible.

  2. So what it the purpose of Rufford's visit? Is it to get the Kelly's out of their house (quite incredible and unnecessary in any case)? It is Rufford who somehow contrives to arrive moments after the MoD tells Dr Kelly's name has been confirmed , so that Rufford can immediately inform Dr Kelly back that the press are going to besiege his house (which of course would not happen if the MoD hadn't outed Dr Kelly, and probably wouldn't have occurred anyway). And hey presto,it's Bryan Wells on the phone just as Rufford leaves,saying Go Go Go, all pack up in 10 minutes despite arthritis etc etc. Incredible.
    It's better than fiction.

    Well, at 7.03pm Bryan Wells calls, according to the command structure, Dr Kelly from the train, saying his name has been confirmed (to the FT intitially) and this is his reaction according to Dr Wells...

    "He expressed no concern at all, my Lord"

    Yet Rufford says that Dr Kelly has had a call just before 7.30.
    "Yes. His first words were that he had been contacted by the Ministry of Defence and told that he would be named in national newspapers the following day" This directly conflicts with Bryan Wells' evidence, which was that Dr Kelly had merely been told to contact the press office because he had been identified.
    Bryan Wells gets himself tied up in all sorts of knots at paras 95-98 of his 24 September appearance, such that I have no idea at all what really happened.
    Wells' first statement at the Hutton Inquiry had said that his three phone calls were essentially about the identification of Dr Kelly by the Press office at 7.03,7.09 and 7.54. (all with same content) although he initialy says that Dr Kelly had rung him about 3.30 pm (!) to say that Rufford had dropped by.
    Yet by September 24 , Wells' evidence has CHANGED substantially when pressed by Lord Hutton...
    Dr Wells:"I wanted to check that David was making -- had understood that he was making preparations to go."

    So, we don't know how Bryan Wells knew that Dr Kelly had to leave his house.
    According to Kate Wilson, MoD press officer, Dr Kelly only contacted her, as Dr Wells suggested, at
    "He phoned me at 8 o'clock" And what was the content of that call? To tell (!) the MoD that Nick Rufford had advised him to go to an hotel to escape the press!!! This is the mad house. (again) Why is it all so complex? Because so many people are lying.

  3. This contact with Rufford doesn't make sense for another reason- Dr Kelly had already had his figers burnt over an article on 13 April 2003 by Rufford in the Sunday Times. ("Al-Saadi knew where all the bodies were buried")
    Strangely, Patrick Lamb in this memo of 21 July 2003 puts that in June 2003
    (just for the record, the last bit of para 10 of the Lamb document is, from what I have read, not true. However, Lamb's memory clears for the Hutton Inquiry and he recalls the 13 April article which so incensed him that not only did he ring Dr Kelly at home, but he dialled Dr Kelly's home phone number from MEMORY. "I was in the habit of speaking to him and recollected it from memory"

  4. Brian,

    I think you're probably misinterpreting the date issue re the 5th and 9th July.

    If you go back to Line 8 on Page 72 on of the evidence I think you'll see that it is the 8th July 2003 that is being referred to re the "next morning" issue.

    In other words, it does make sense. The 9th July is the day after the 8th July.

  5. Felix,

    A propos the possible postponement of David Kelly travelling to Iraq it is possaible that David Kelly was one of the three originally due to travel to Iraq on 10th July 2003. (See Mr. A's evidence at Page 110, Lines 11-14).

    It's not certain, however, that David Kelly was one of the three due to travel on 10th July. But the training he attended on 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th July makes it at least credible as a possibility.

    There was also, I think, a possibility that David Kelly would travel to Iraq on 17th July 2003. My hazy recollection is that it was mentioned somewhere in a document or evidence from Bryan Wells but I can't immediately put my hand on it.

  6. Andrew - That would indeed be a good question to have asked/ask Mr A, Andrew. We must assume that the alleged visit to RAF Honington for "training" did occur but my feeling is that some deeper investigations were under way at this time.

    In his evidence, WIng Commander Clark states that he himself had booked a flight to Iraq for David Kelly for 25 July 2003.(para 139)