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?
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?
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?
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.