Thursday, 13 January 2011

Did Mrs Kelly lie at the Hutton Inquiry?

Did Mrs Kelly lie at the Hutton Inquiry?  I imagine that among the Tom Mangolds and John Rentouls of this world I would be condemned for even mooting such a possibility.  However the question does need to be asked I'm afraid.

This post isn't an all out attack on Janice Kelly - sure there are a lot of anomalies in her evidence but this piece is about one particular item in her 1 hour and 5 minutes of evidence on Monday 1st September.   On Wednesday 9th July David Kelly's name was confirmed as the alleged informant in Andrew Gilligan's now infamous broadcast on the Today programme of 29th May.  Mrs Kelly's testimony includes the decision of the couple to flee their home temporarily to avoid the Press who it appears were heading toward Southmoor.  Fortunately Mrs Kelly knows somewhere they can go to in Cornwall to get out of the spotlight.  They quickly pack that evening and drive west and break their journey by staying the night at a hotel in Weston-Super Mare.  The next day she says they continue their journey on to Mevagissey, a traditional Cornish village on the south coast approximately midway between the east and west extremities of the county.

There are concerns about the integrity of the whole story of the visit to Cornwall but I won't dwell on them here, rather it is just a single piece of evidence from Mrs Kelly that can't be reconciled with another person's testimony.  This is part of Mrs Kelly's questioning by Mr Dingemans relating to events following breakfast at the Weston-Super-Mare hotel:

Q. Did you set off anywhere?
A. Yes, we did. He made a few calls on his mobile in the garden of the hotel.
Q. Do you know who he was calling?
A. He was calling MoD, but I do not know who he spoke to.
Q. Do you know what was said? Did he report back?
A. No, he did not. He just said I was okay to continue down towards Cornwall.
Q. You did the packing?
A. I did my packing. He had already more or less done his own.
Q. There obviously was not that much to pack anyway?
A. No, there was not. He had a briefcase and we each had a small suitcase each.
Q. You set off down to Cornwall I think?
A. We did, yes.
Q. What time did you leave the hotel?
A. We left the hotel about 8.30, 8.45, that sort of time.
Q. What time did you get down to the place you were driving to in Cornwall?
A. That was about noon or just after.

Note the sentence  He just said I was okay to continue down towards Cornwall.  She says 'I was' not 'we were' which might be significant, almost suggesting that she was going on to Cornwall by train with perhaps her husband coming later.

Two days later at the Inquiry we have evidence from Mr "A" who we now know to have been Rod Godfrey, a UK chemical weapons expert.  This is some of the testimony (Mr Dingemans asking the questions again):

Q. We have heard that he spent the night of the 9th July at a hotel in Weston-Super-Mare then, I think, travelled down on 10th July to Cornwall. Did he tell you that he was travelling anywhere?
A. It was slightly odd. He rang me on the morning of the10th to tell me he had the medication for me.
Q. What medication was this?
A. It was paladin, it is an anti-malarial medication.

Q. Who had given him that?
A. The doctor at RAF Honnington had given him the medication for the three of us who were about to deploy to Iraq on Friday. She had made a slight error in the prescription and was giving us some more.
Q. Right. And he rang you to say that he had the medication -- sorry, I interrupted.
A. Yes. He rang to say he had the medication and was quite happy to drop it off. This was quite odd. I was quite happy to travel the short distance to his home to pick it up. But he almost insisted he dropped it off.  Within about half an hour to an hour he arrived at my house.
Q. Sorry to press you, whereabouts in Wiltshire? Can you give a town that you are near?
A. I am near Swindon.
LORD HUTTON: Was Mrs Kelly with Dr Kelly at this time, Mr A?
A. It is possible that she could have been in the car. I myself did not understand how the whole
Weston-Super-Mare/Cornwall trip works in the chronology.  David had parked some distance from my house and walked 100 yards up the road to my house.

Q. Do you have a drive?
A. I am afraid not.
Q. Was 100 yards the closest he could park?
A. Yes, that is the problem.
Q. And how did he seem to you when you saw him on 10th July?
A. He was distracted. Our conversation would normally include a significant part relating to work, but he seemed to want nothing more than to have a cup of coffee and walk through my garden talking about the garden, so that is what we did.
Q. Was that usual behaviour for him?
A. It was not. I would characterise his behaviour as being somewhat distracted at this point; and he clearly did not want to talk much about work.
Q. Was that usual?
A. It was not. Our friendship was based partly on work but -- mostly on work, and really a large part of our meetings would consist of talking of matters of professional mutual concern.

Mr "A" clearly indicates that he doesn't understand how the chronology worked for that morning but, this being the Hutton Inquiry, the impossibility of the timeline isn't pursued further.  And it is literally impossible to do the trip back to near Swindon from Weston-Super-Mare, stop for coffee and look around the garden, and then drive to the final destination in Cornwall, arriving 'about noon or just after'.

We are told that Mr "A" was off to Iraq the following day and have to assume that he was very clear about the fact that Dr Kelly saw him with the medication on the 10th.  I cannot believe that he could have got this piece of evidence wrong or have any motivation for lying.

What of Mrs Kelly's evidence then.  She had appeared at the Inquiry two days before and it would be reasonable to assume that she wouldn't know about the upcoming evidence from Mr "A" about Dr Kelly dropping off medication.  It's possible in my view that she might have been angry and frustrated with the thought of backtracking in the direction they had come and this might have been a reason for her to "skip" the incident of going back to Swindon in her testimony.  With her evidence taking over an hour to conclude the temptation to omit something that seemed fairly unimportant and with a bad memory might have been substantial.  If she and her husband had exchanged words she might have felt somewhat embarrassed or ashamed about it and from her perspective the omission would have seen unimportant.

The problem now for her is that, seemingly being caught out not telling the truth about the arrival time in Cornwall, all of the rest of her evidence is under suspicion.

One final point: in his excellent book Norman Baker covers the visit to Mr "A" by Dr Kelly.  Norman tries to make sense of the time taken by Dr Kelly to get to Mr "A"s home from W-S-M and finds it impossible to believe.  Unfortunately he makes a couple of mistakes in his logic.  Firstly he quotes Mr A as saying  'Within about an half an hour he arrived at my house' (from the phone call evidently) - the reality was Mr "A" saying 'Within about half an hour to an hour he arrived at my house' which is not the same!  Secondly Norman Baker states Swindon is 62 miles from W-S-M and that the AA route planner estimates a journey time by road of 1 hour and 8 minutes.  The AA route planner would surely take you from town centre to town centre,  Mr "A" lives near Swindon, he could be within a couple of minutes of the M4 (which runs just south of Swindon) for all we know.  I'm mentioning this just to show how easy it is for the investigator to make slight errors aided and abetted by his or her own prejudices.  From my own experience I know the difficulty in being 100% factual and the discipline needed!


  1. I take your point Brian but depending where Mr A lived and where the hotel was then 1/2 - 1 hour is possible.

    But DK spends time with Mr so the noon estimation for Cornwall is pushing it.

    We know from Julie Flint that DK was a proficient fast driver but you know better than most what the roads are like at that time of year in that area and making rapid progress is not always possible.

    However if noon is stretched an hour or so, (lunch time) then the sums just about add up.

    Mrs Kelly had obviously been through a dreadful ordeal and her memory may have been affected but I can't think of a reason why she should mislead the inquiry regarding this matter.

    But there again I don't know why several of the players told such obvious , unnecessary lies.

  2. ps It's a measure of the man that whilst the maelstrom was going on around him he remembered his colleague's medical requirement and went out of his way to deliver it

  3. Brian, my feeling is that the Kelly's weren't together either for some or all of the "West Country" divertissement.
    Firstly, it is quite ridiculous that the Kellys would have to leave their house and flee (unless someone wanted to kill one or both of them...) Thames Valley Police,just a phone call away, would be able to deal with journalists or photographers. Dr Kelly was well used to very difficult situations in Iraq or the USSR, much more threatening than this. The Kellys' house was quite secluded behind a gate, so even if the press were tacitly being encouraged to descend on Southmoor by the MoD (which I very much doubt) there was no danger. The Kellys wouldn't have been able to see them!
    This ignores the fact that apparently Dr Kelly played crib at the pub in the next village that evening if we are to believe the evidence.
    Secondly, Mr A fails to see Mrs Kelly at his house on the unverifiable grounds that Dr Kelly couldn't park outside. Mrs Kelly fails to mention this episode completely!!!
    I wonder what the visitors books of hotels in Weston super Mare would reveal? Torn out pages? Or nothing.
    Notice how Mr Dingemans hears Mrs Kelly say they pulled into a hotel in Weston super Mare for the night. Then he asks her where the were going to and if they stayed overnight.An Extraorinary barrister.(answers from Mrs Kelly - Weston super Mare and we stayed over night!)
    In reply to Lancashire Lad, my feeling that Mrs Kelly is possibly misleading the Inquiry is because Dr Kelly probably didn't go to Cornwall. A drive to Mr A, a chat, cup of coffee, walk around the garden, then bash down to Gorran Haven hoping not to get stuck behind a tractor or in a mid-summer traffic jam... it doesn't stack up. [in 2011, the 09.13 from Bristol Temple Meads would get one to Par by 12.07]
    Mrs Kelly's testimony, which I have read many times, reads like a badly written afternoon play and much of it is uncorroborated. Who knows what to believe?

  4. If a crime had been committed in Gorran Haven just after noon and the prime suspect was spotted near Swindon at say 10 am, (which one might expect would be the earliest time to leave Mr A) then the defence might be expected to rip into the prosecution over the timings.

    Half an hour however, seems just the sort of time for Dr Kelly to drive over to Swindon from Southmoor....

    Finally ,Brian, DO READ THE testimony of Prof Roger Avery IN THIS CONNECTION.
    "The last phone call -- actually there were two of them -- was somewhat unusual in that I, on Thursday -- I will just have to check the date to make sure I have the correct date -- Thursday 10th. Thursday 10th July, as I was about to leave my office at about 5.15 I received a phone call from the press telling me that Dr Kelly was involved in the current dispute that was going on between the BBC and the British Government over the dossier and could I give them his telephone number. Of course I did not do that.
    Q. Which press was this, the American press or the English press?
    A. No, this was the English press -- a reporter fo The Times.
    Q. And you did not hand over his phone number?
    A. No, I did not, but I did immediately call Dr Kelly on his mobile phone. I vaguely remembered that he told me he was hoping to go back to Iraq. So when he answere I said, "Where are you?" thinking he would say, "In Iraq", and he said, "I am at Weston-Super-Mare". Then I asked what he was doing in Weston-Super-Mare and he told me that he had had a phone call telling him he should leave home within a few minutes because the press were about to descend on him; and so he and his wife,Janice, had actually done that."

    Avery is in the US, Eastern Standar Time, so 10.15 pm. BUT this is the 9th July not the 10th which Avery talks about. And how would Nick Rufford know about this old colleague of Dr Kelly from Leeds University and Warwick University days to ring him up? Did Dr Kelly then spend two nights in Weston super Mare???
    It is a load of nonsense.

  5. Felix - Roger Avery does seem a bit uncertain about the date, it's not clear that he has a diary or phone call readout in front of him as he is giving his evidence. Is he checking the date as he is talking or is it the case that he would have to go off somewhere to confirm it? I suspect the latter. Importantly though he does confirm DK's presence at W-S-M, so that is really useful.

    We must remember that Nick Rufford wrote for the Sunday Times and wouldn't be asking for DK's phone number which he knew. (Mrs K's assertion that Rufford had written a piece for The Times of 10 July doesn't seem right). I think it was Tom Baldwin, a very close friend of Alastair Campbell and a Times journalist, who might have been trying to get DK's number from Roger Avery.

  6. I still don't get it! Why would Mrs K lie about Cornwall?

    Unless DK and her did stay overnight at WSM and because of the press activity he put her on a train to Cornwall, then he goes to see his friend to deliver the medication.

    His friend is due to fly the following day to Iraq with another colleague, so was DK but DK's travel arrangements had been put on hold.

    I've worked with these people and I know what sort of reaction DK might have to being excluded this way. He was the main man and his glory had been taken away from him. He would have been severly p***ed off.

    Wit that in mind what if on the Thursday he had gone and given a You're All A Bunch of B***ards speech and explained if he was going to be excluded from Iraq he would be spilling the beans on a lot more stuff.

    Essentially he delivered a motive for him to be bumped off.

    I don't know! But Mrs K's continuuing silence is curious.

  7. Brian - Prof. Avery is VERY certain about the date.
    The timings all slightly depend on by what "near Swindon " means. But anywhere in Wiltshire is pretty remote from Mevagissey.
    I stand corrected on the name of Tom Baldwin, who has just been appointed the Labour Party Director of Strategic Communications. (Biog. here),although as Richard Webster writes, Baldwin states that Kelly probably hadn't used the words sexing up.
    How would Tom Baldwin make the connection with Prof Avery, for that matter? Perusing back issues of J. Virol? (see below)
    Incidentally, Baldwin writes in The Times, 1 Aug 2003 in an article entitled "WHO WAS THE REAL DR KELLY..." that Dr Kelly took out the knife and cut open the veins of his left wrist. What sort of journalism is that???? VEINS?
    Anyway , here is the important extract from Mr Baldwin's exchange before Lord Hutton
    I never got the name Dr David Kelly; my colleague, Michael Evans, the Defence Editor of The Times, got the name David Kelly" So there we have it.
    Interestingly, at bbc/6/0005 Tom Baldwin writes that Gilligan's source was IN IRAQ on 5 July 2003. And who told the journalists? Richard Sambrook. And who told him?
    Back to Mr Baldwin according to Mr Sambrook...
    "So you were not responsible for Mr Baldwin's description?
    A. I do not see how Mr Baldwin could have said "a military expert based in Iraq" based on my conversation there,no.
    Q. Do you know which other BBC insiders might have spoken with Mr Baldwin?
    A. I do not
    End of trail, it is a circle.
    Yet on 9 July, Baldwin names Gilligan's source as David Kelly. (never in Iraq in July 2003)

  8. Michael Evans' exchange at the Hutton Inquiry is fascinating. He has a list of 20 names - zero. Then up pops Dr Kelly on a separate list of 1 -
    "He is name number 21.
    Q. How many others did you have on that list?
    A. Well, that is it. It is about 21 names.
    Q. There were 21 names?
    A. Clearly Dr Kelly was the last name."

    The timing of 6.30-7.00 is to fit in with the phone calls of Bryan Wells.
    "I know it was quite late in the day and there was not actually much time to write to it before I had to leave to go to a very important official dinner engagement."
    IT I guess is the article written jointly by Baldwin, Evans and Andrew Pierce (who DID NOT give evidence at the Hutton Inquiry), Med/2/0001-3
    It seems odd that someone would be calling Avery at 10.15 pm the same evening.

  9. In the article Med/2/001-3, what is not addressed is the problem that Downing Street is 99 percent certain that the source is Kelly, whereas Gilligan tells his BBC bosses that his source is in Iraq in early July.

    The Times article goes on...
    "Dr Kelly (who) has been interviewed by Ministry of Defence officials for several days.."
    Was that his "training" at "RAF Honington"??
    And whatever happened to the report in the Telegraph about Dr Kelly and the safe house?
    "The pressure on Dr Kelly was growing. He was taken, for at least one night, to a house near Southend Airport in Essex where he is reported to have been seen by two MoD civil servants, including Mr Hatfield, during which a formal 30-minute conversation was tape-recorded.

    His interrogators were said to have asked him if he wanted to take his wife to Jersey, where a house belonging to the Foreign Office would be made available. Dr Kelly declined."

    This is mentioned in Norman Baker's book though he takes the Honington story in sequence at face value,naturally.Perhaps they coincided?. Is the Cornwall escapade somehow connected with the Southend/Jersey episode (and of course denied by the Mod)?
    Could Dr Kelly have been flown into and out of Southend Airport?

  10. Brian, I have just read the transcript of the evidence of Dr Richard Scott, director of the DSTL at Porton Down.
    What is fascinating is this....
    "Following a mix-up in an annual report, I took direct line managemen responsibility for Dr Kelly in July annual report had gone missing..."

    a MIX UP? MISSING REPORT ? and they are dealing with Anthrax! Unbelievable.

    Anyway...from Scott's waffling narrative I get the feeling that Dr Kelly was some kind of Scientist without portfolio, a Scarlet Pimpernel,nobody quite knowing what he was up to.(Dr Kelly has two people who claim to be his line manager - Scott and Wells, DSTL and MoD: as Lord Hutton interjects,the former is salary line manager and the latter work related - so why Scott should get hot under the collar about his contact with the press is beyond me)
    Scott says he immediately arranged a 9am meeting with Dr Kelly at Porton Down on 10th July. As we are led to believe, the Kelly's had to rush off on the evening of the 9th to Weston-super-Mare.

    Anyway...this is Dr Scott's next exchange..
    "Q. On the following day, 10th July, did that meeting take place?
    A. No, it did not. At about 9 o'clock or just before we received a telephone conversation from David to say that he could not make the meeting. He said that he had been told by the press office, and I inferred the MoD press office, that his name was likely to become known and that he should leave home to avoid press intrusion.
    Q. Did you say anything to Dr Kelly?
    A. Yes, what I said to Dr Kelly was that DSTL would not be taking any disciplinary action of its own; any disciplinary action which would be taken would be that which would be decided by the parent department MoD, knowing what was likely to happen. I also sensed -- I also said to Dr Kelly at that time that DSTL was available to provide pastoral care if required because I do not know why I said it but I sensed that Dr Kelly was upset at having to leave home, not unnaturally, and if we could be of any assistance, I would like to put that forward.
    LORD HUTTON: Do you know from where he was speaking? A. I think he was speaking from home my Lord, but I could not be certain.
    MR KNOX: He rang you?
    A. Yes he did.
    Q. Can you remember what time it was?
    A. It was about 9 or just before
    The BBC Time lin assumes this phone call took place at 9am ,10th July. Yet Scott does not clarify am or pm. Indeed it reads like Dr Kelly has not left home! I would have thought Dr Kelly would have had the courtesy NOT to leave it until the meeting was due to start! On the 10th ,his name WAS known.
    Mrs Kelly makes no reference to this meeting or phone call! And of course they are en route to Mr A near Swindon by 8.45. It doesn't add up at all.

  11. OK I know I'm a bit slow at times but I am starting to get this.

    Mr & Mrs K are advised to flee from their home.

    They drive down to WSM to an hotel overnight, Mrs K has use of a property in Cornwall, which she plans to go to the next day.

    DK has 2 appointments in the morning (1) deliver medication to a colleague in Swindon. (2) Go and get a bollicking from his boss in Salisbury.

    DK therefore decides to put his wife on a train to Cornwall and agrees to meet her there later.

    DK delivers the medication but gets cold feet abour Porton Down and rings in with an excuse.

    If this is the actual scenario, whatever DK did next after delivering the medication and phoning his boss but before setting off for Cornwall is enough for Mrs K to mislead the inquiry.

    It is very curious.

    As is family friend Mangold ascerting that the Kelly marriage had effectively run it's course. Not very gentlemanly I know!

  12. LL
    The problem is knowing what to believe. Obviously there are elements of truth in the Hutton Inquiry but we don't know what is or isn't true.
    Read what Scott says - "his name [Dr Kelly's] was likely to become known and that he should leave home.." To me, that means that he is cancelling his bollocking before he has left home, viz 9th July. Only problem is,Mrs Kelly says they are on the M4, and stopping (not on the hard shoulder I hope) to ring up Dr Bryan Wells that they are off to the West Country at 8.40pm with reply at 8.44pm. If Dr Kelly had two line managers allegedly would each of them be able to bollock Dr Kelly in isolation and ignorance of the other? No, Wells must have known. As Dr Kelly writes at 15.37hrs,9 July from home, (COM/4/0083) I have just checked with London and I am free to see Dr Scott at 09.00 tomorrow.
    Who is his line manager in London? Bryan Wells. Does Wells say Don't forget, David, you have a bollocking appointment at 9am sharp in Porton Down? No, of course not. It is all nonsense.

    The whole week of 7-13 July is a mystery regarding the whereabouts of Dr Kelly. In fact Dr Kelly apparently doesn't even stay in his own home when he returns from "Cornwall" until Mrs Kelly turns up and the house in Southmoor is only reoccupied allegedly for the first time about 10-11pm on the Wednesday night,16th July, the last one before he disappeared; it was left empty for almost exactly a week beforehand apart from visits by his daughter to feed the cats!! Could it have been broken into? Even though Dr Kelly is allegedly staying 10 minutes from his own home, he doesn't have access to his computer! No laptop or computer wherever he stayed to answer/send emails?
    The RAF Honington/training/Weston super Mare/Cornwall stories may be a smokescreen to hide something else.
    My feeling is that Dr Kelly never set foot in Cornwall and possibly not even in Weston super Mare.
    There is NO REASON whatsoever for such an tough cookie as David Kelly to flee his home over a few alleged journalists. If he has fled his home, he could still receive a bollocking from one of his twin line managers. He could have stayed at an agreeable hotel in Salisbury. Why Weston super Mare? Handy too for dropping off Mr A's medication after the bollocking.

    Interestingly, before the Hutton Inquiry, late July 2003, stories were circulating of Dr Kelly being taken to a safe bungalow in Hockley near Southend Airport and his wife being offered a Foreign Office house in Jersey as reported here (easy flights from Southend Airport) Read this opaque parliamentary written answer from 2007 on the subject, which seems to answer a different, more specific question which was not asked!!!

    Finally, Rachel Kelly says her dad left Cornwall late morning to arrive in Oxford early evening.
    say 11.30 to 6pm. That is some slow journey compared with his Fangio like race from Swindon to Mevagissey in about 2 hours!!!