A group of medical experts has demanded a full inquest into the death David Kelly, the government weapons inspector, in 2003 after dismissing the conclusion of the inquiry by Lord Hutton as "unsatisfactory".
In a letter to The Times, the experts including a former coroner, Michael Powers, a professor of intensive care medicine, Julian Bion, and three forensic physicians, said it was "extremely unlikely" that Dr Kelly died of a haemorrhage from his cut wrist, the official cause of death given by the inquiry.
Allegations and counter-allegations about the safety of this verdict have swirled for years. Doctors have pointed out that the wound to Dr Kelly's wrist, thought to have been self-inflicted, would not have led to sufficient blood loss to kill him. Although Dr Kelly also swallowed a quantity of co-proxamol tablets, a powerful pain-killer, the injury to his wrist is given as the principal cause of death.
The authors of the letter said they had written it in response to the "continuing interest" in Dr Kelly's death.
Dr Powers said: "The medical evidence [on which the opinion was based] is solely that which is on the Hutton website. Obviously there has been other evidence. We have not commented on that because we weren't there. The way to look at it is to ask: 'What did he die of?' It is impossible to start to explore what happened to him until we have ascertained what he died of."
Dr Powers said the group was making no judgment about what happened to Dr Kelly. "We don't have the expertise to make that decision." he said. The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, has indicated that he is concerned about the case.