Friday, 10 December 2010

An open letter to the Attorney General - the death of Dr David Kelly

I have today sent a letter to the Attorney General by Recorded Delivery.  The text is below:

Dominic Grieve QC
Attorney General
Attorney General’s Office
20 Victoria Street

Open letter

10 December 2010

Dear Mr Grieve
The death of Dr David Kelly

In considering whether there should be a reconvened inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly you had asked that anybody with new evidence concerning Dr Kelly's death should send it to you. The purpose of this letter is to appraise you of new evidence that has entered the public domain in the last few days. This is evidence that has been obtained from Freedom of Information requests.

In his report Lord Hutton states that the causes of Dr Kelly's death were as follows
1a Haemorrhage
1b Incised wounds to the left wrist

 2 Coproxamol ingestion and coronary artery atherosclerosis

Although there is clear evidence demonstrating that reasons 1a and 1b above are unsafe the content of this letter is more specifically dealing with the first part of “2” above: Coproxamol ingestion.

As you may be aware three blister packs of coproxamol tablets were found by the forensic pathologist Dr Hunt in a pocket of the Barbour jacket Dr Kelly was wearing when his body was discovered. One tablet remained in one of the blister packs, potentially there were a total of 30 tablets available originally from the three packs.

A fingertip search in and around the area of the body was conducted by police on the 18th July 2003, the day Dr Kelly's body was discovered. No evidence was found of any spilled tablets and it is commonly assumed that the missing 29 tablets were swallowed by Dr Kelly.

Close to Dr Kelly's body a part full Evian bottle of water was found. The bottle had a capacity of 500 ml and a FOI request has yielded the fact that 111 ml of water remained in the bottle. Thus assuming that Dr Kelly set out with a full bottle a maximum of 389 ml could have been drunk. Even if Dr Kelly had used all the available water I do not consider it possible that he would have found the amount anywhere near sufficient for his purpose. Obviously the fact that he only used a maximum of 389 ml makes the scenario of swallowing 29 tablets even more preposterous.

In his evidence to the Hutton Inquiry the forensic biologist Mr Green proffered an explanation about the presence of blood smearing on the bottle and its top: he explained that 'when people are injured and losing blood they will become thirsty'. Hence Dr Kelly as he was losing blood would have drunk some water and that would be the explanation of the presence of blood on bottle and cap. It is of course perfectly possible for the bottle and its cap to have been smeared with blood by another party wanting to make a murder look like suicide.

If we accept what Mr Green suggests as fact in this case then we have the situation that Dr Kelly used even less than 389 ml of water to swallow the tablets. Dr Kelly, being both intelligent and intellectual, would have understood that he would have had a far greater chance of success with the coproxamol tablets if he bought some alcohol, say a bottle of spirits, to swallow the tablets. Dr Kelly had the opportunity to purchase alcohol at Southmoor. He failed to take advantage of that opportunity.

Although about 22% of the potentially maximum available water was unused Dr Hunt, in his now published report of 25 July 2003, makes no estimate of the residual water in the bottle. He cannot recall at the Inquiry how much water was still in it. Questions do not appear to have been asked at the Inquiry regarding the sufficiency of the quantity of water Dr Kelly had with him to both swallow the tablets and replace the fluid lost by the bleeding.

A FOI request was made concerning the checking of the blister packs for fingerprints. One of the packs was retained for DNA checking; unsurprisingly with the packets being in Dr Kelly's coat pocket his DNA was found on the pack. The other two blister packs were checked for fingerprints, none were recovered. Considering that some pressure would have been required in order to remove the tablets from the packs I don't consider it tenable that in removing 19 or 20 tablets he wouldn't have left some fingerprints. There is no evidence that Dr Kelly wore gloves, in fact in the middle of July in what was a warm summer he would have had absolutely no reason to do so. The fact that all three blister packs were in Dr Kelly's pocket demonstrates that they were not left exposed to the elements. There had been a previous FOI request I understand that determined that there were no fingerprints on the knife found next to the body either.

This new evidence further demonstrates that the conclusion drawn by Lord Hutton as to the cause of Dr Kelly's death was incorrect. Clearly an inquest into Dr Kelly's death with witnesses under oath and subject to cross examination is now needed.

Yours faithfully

Brian Spencer



  1. Brian,

    It will be very interesting to see what response you get.

  2. Brian - Dr Kelly was strictly teetotal (aside from the fact they he probably didn't take any co-proxamol of his own volition anyway). I am sure Keith Hawton would advise on the likelihiood teetotallers killing themelves with alcohol as a contributory factor.....

  3. Felix - as I understand things Dr Kelly became virtually teetotal following his "conversion" to the Baha'i faith. It was Frank who drew my attention to how much more effective it would be to mix alcohol with co-proxamol if suicide was intended. If he was able to forsake his religion to commit suicide then I think he would also have no qualms about drinking alcohol (just this once).

    For the record I believe that any suggestion that he committed suicide is now totally untenable.