by editor | 22nd October 2010 7:01 am
Medical evidence concerning UN weapons inspector’s apparent suicide prior to Iraq war to be released by home secretary Kenneth Clarke
Medical reports on the death of the weapons inspector David Kelly could be released today by the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke.
The release of the files, due this morning barring last-minute legal challenges, follows a long campaign to overturn a decision by Lord Falconer, then lord chancellor, to suspend an inquest in advance of the Hutton inquiry into the circumstances of the death.
The inquest was not resumed after Lord Hutton’s report in 2004 concluded that Kelly killed himself in July 2003 by cutting an artery in his wrist.
In January this year five doctors who made an application to the Oxford coroner to have the inquest reopened, were told that Hutton made a ruling in 2003 to keep medical reports and photographs closed for 70 years.
But Clarke has decided that they should be made available for public scrutiny.
Kelly was the most experienced British expert involved in UN inspections in Iraq intended to prevent Saddam Hussein from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
His body was found in woods near his Oxfordshire home shortly after it was revealed he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the government’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which could reach British targets within 45 minutes. The pathologist Nicholas Hunt, who performed an autopsy on Kelly’s body, told the Sunday Times earlier this year that he regarded the case as a “textbook” suicide. He disclosed that he found “big clots” of blood on the inside of Kelly’s jacket, contrary to reports that there had been little blood at the scene. There were about a dozen cuts on his left wrist, including shallower cuts made before the main incisions.
Kelly’s heart disease was so advanced that he could have died at any moment, according to the report.
There has been much speculation that the weapons inspector was murdered. Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat MP and a junior minister in the government, resigned from the front bench while in opposition to write a book, The Strange Death of David Kelly, which argued that the scientist’s life had been “deliberately taken by others”.
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