Bahai News -- The Glasgow Herald - 'Intolerable' last days of doctor who converted to pacifism

'Intolerable' last days of doctor who converted to pacifism


THE family of Dr David Kelly said that his life had become "intolerable" in the run-up to his suicide.

Dr Kelly, 59, was last seen by his family at 3pm on Thursday at his home in Southmoor, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, when he said he was going for a walk.

He was reported missing at 11.45pm and police issued a missing person's appeal the next morning but at 9.20am on Friday his body was found in a wooded area on Harrowdown Hill, less than five miles from his house.

Leaders of the Baha'i religion followed by Dr Kelly said they were praying for his soul and for solace for his family.

Barnabas Leith, secretary of the national assembly of the Baha'is in the UK, said the religion condemned suicide but added that God was "merciful" to those who had suffered.

Dr Kelly converted to the pacifist faith four years ago while in the US and regularly attended gatherings at his local centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Mr Leith said: "The true position is that the Baha'i teachings strongly condemn suicide. Baha'is believe that the soul of the individual comes ever closer to God in the life after death. Those who take their own lives risk damaging their soul in the life hereafter.

"But this does not mean they cease to be Baha'is. And Baha'is believe that God is always merciful to those who have suffered in this life. Baha'is throughout the world are praying for the progress of David Kelly's soul."

Mr Leith added that Baha'is did not have a regular weekly meeting, but members would be praying for Dr Kelly, his wife and his daughters.

Dr Kelly is one of 6000 Baha'is in the UK and five million worldwide. The religion, founded in Iran around 160 years ago, preaches tolerance and unity.

Villagers were also praying for Dr Kelly at St Mary's Church in his neighbouring village of Longworth, near the site where his body was found on Harrowdown Hill.

The Reverend Joe Cotterill, a visiting priest from Southmoor, said Mrs Kelly attended occasional services at the 13th century church.

In his sermon, Mr Cotterill asked the congregation of 18 people to pray for the family and all those involved with the tragedy, and to ask God to give them "courage and hope".

He said: "I'm not sure people here are coming to terms with Dr Kelly's death. It's more a matter of asking why, why, why? Why should it have had to happen this way?

"There is grief and sadness, for Janice Kelly and the children but particularly for Mrs Kelly who is afflicted with arthritis."

Police revealed that Dr Kelly had bled to death after slashing his left wrist with a "bladed object". A knife and a packet of the painkiller Co-Proxamol were found at the scene.

A specialist police team searched the garden and a number of outbuildings at Dr Kelly's home yesterday, as well as undergrowth on the path he took for his final walk.

-July 21st

©Copyright 2003, The Glasgow Herald (UK)

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