Bahai News -- Times - Seven steps of despair that led to Kelly death
September 21, 2003
Seven steps of despair that led to Kelly death
David Leppard and Jonathon Carr-Brown
A CONFIDENTIAL report by detectives investigating the death of Dr David Kelly has identified the chain of events that led to
the government scientists apparent suicide.
The report, due to be handed to Lord Hutton this week, is understood to identify key incidents as the row between the BBC and the
government over Kellys secret briefing to Andrew Gilligan, the reporter on the Today programme, spiralled out of control.
The Thames Valley police report is being submitted to Hutton in his additional role as coroner investigating the immediate causes of
More than 30 detectives have spent the past two months trawling over every detail of Kellys final weeks. They have scrutinised
all his personal papers, including the contents of seven computers on which he kept documents and thousands of e-mails. Sources say the
police report reflects the account given by his wife Janice in her public evidence to Hutton.
Janice Kelly told Hutton how her husbands demeanour had changed towards the end of June and highlighted key events: oJune 30:
Kelly wrote to his manager confessing to meeting Gilligan, the BBC Radio 4 reporter who broadcast the allegation about the government
dossier. He told his wife at the time he was worried about something professional. oJuly 8: While watching a Channel 4 news
report about how an unnamed Ministry of Defence (MoD) official had admitted speaking to Gilligan, he said that he was Gilligans
source. He was desperately unhappy about possibly being named, she said. oJuly 9: Nicholas Rufford, a senior reporter at The
Sunday Times, called at the scientists Oxfordshire home. After he left, Kelly told his wife he felt totally let down by
the MoD. oJuly 10: While hiding from the media in Cornwall after being named in that mornings daily newspapers, Kelly went
totally ballistic when the MoD said he was to appear before the foreign affairs select committee. oJuly 14: The
scientists mood became blacker when he was told that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, had described him as a junior official.
Kelly reacted with hysterical laughter. He was deeply hurt, according to his wife. oJuly 15: His appearance before the foreign
affairs select committee turned into a total nightmare. Kelly was forced to run a media gauntlet and faced aggressive
questioning. oJuly 17: He was forced by the MoD to admit his contacts with Susan Watts, another BBC correspondent. Janice Kelly said it
appeared he had a broken heart. She added: He looked as though he had shrunk. He couldnt put two sentences
together. That afternoon he went for his last walk.
Police have already told the inquiry that they are satisfied there is no evidence that any third party was involved in his death. They
also found no foundation for suggestions that any close friendships he may have had with female colleagues contributed in any way to his death.
The report comes as Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, is preparing to admit that he did play a role in exposing Kelly to the media. In
evidence earlier this month, Hoon said that he had played no part in drawing up the strategy.
Asked specifically by James Dingemans, counsel to the inquiry, if he had any knowledge of question-and-answer papers telling press
officers how to confirm Kellys identity to the media, Hoon replied: Can I make it clear that I did not see either of these
documents. They were not submitted to my office. That would not be something I would normally deal with.
However, last week Pam Teare, director of news at the MoD, told Hutton that she thought Hoon may have already seen the
material. Richard Taylor, Hoons special adviser, earlier claimed that Hoon did attend a meeting which discussed confirming
Kellys name to the media.
Hoon will be at his most vulnerable when he is cross-examined by barristers acting for the Kelly family, which believes that the MoD
betrayed Kelly by placing him in the spotlight.
However, last week MoD officials took a harder line when quizzed on this issue, saying they had done everything by the book and that
Kelly had put himself in the spotlight by briefing the BBC without authorisation in the first place.
Two other central figures in the drama will also be exposed to cross-examination this week. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blairs former
director of communications, is likely to be asked whether he exaggerated the presentation of intelligence in the dossier.
Brian Jones, a former senior member of the defence intelligence staff, has testified that in recommending changes to the dossiers
language, Campbell acted no differently from intelligence officials.
This point is also likely to be raised with John Scarlett, chairman of the joint intelligence committee. Scarlett has insisted that he
rather than Campbell and the Downing Street spin machine had ownership of the Iraq dossier.
New details have also emerged of Dr Kellys friendship with Mai Pederson, a US military linguist who served with him as a United
Nations weapons inspector in 1998 and later introduced him to the Bahai religion.
Pederson was his mentor when he converted to
the faith in Monterey, California, in September 1999. This weekend Lee Steinmetz, chairman of the Bahai chapter in Monterey,
recalled conversations that he had held with the couple when he hiked with them in 1999 to Point Lobos, a beauty spot on the Pacific coast.
Steinmetz dismissed suggestions that Pedersons faith was simply a pretext to extract intelligence from Kelly. He said that he saw
nothing which suggested that they were involved in a romantic relationship.
Gilligan told friends this weekend that reports that he had been abandoned by the BBC were wrong. He is said to have received personal
messages of support from the corporations senior management and he has no intention of resigning, although one source said: He
understands that if it is a choice between him and the renewal of the BBC charter, he will be thrown overboard.
©Copyright 2003, Times (UK)
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