David Kelly murdered? Yes, and I bet you believe in the tooth fairy too

Investigative journalist Tom Mangold, a friend of the government scientist, takes aim at theories rejecting the verdict that the arms inspector committed suicide

For the past 10 days, a new campaign suggesting that Dr David Kelly, the government scientist and weapons inspector who died nearly seven years ago this month, was murdered has been reaching fever pitch in one popular daily newspaper.

Officially, it was established that Kelly died by his own hand in an Oxfordshire wood: having first taken a large dose of the painkiller co-proxamol, he then slit his wrist with his garden pruning knife.

The Daily Mail and its Sunday companion, The Mail on Sunday, have produced "damning new evidence" of an alleged cover-up to hide a murder plot by persons unknown, for reasons unknown.

The "new evidence" now includes a statement last week from Mai Pedersen, Kelly's former US Air Force interpreter in Iraq, who was a close friend. After seven years, she has suddenly recalled that Kelly could not have cut his wrist because an elbow injury had left his arm too weak. She has also said that he could not have swallowed 29 tablets because he "had difficulty swallowing pills".

Further allegations include a claim that "a blanket of secrecy" was thrown over the case by the Labour government and that reports and medical records about the case have been classified for the next 70 years, bolstered by some apparently ambiguous wording on Kelly's death certificate.

I knew David rather well and I am firmly convinced not only that he committed suicide, but that those who believe in a cover-up have simply failed to produce a shred of primary-source evidence to support their claims.

I believe that David killed himself because he learned, a few hours before he took this fatal step, that lies he had told to investigating MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on 15 July would be exposed. He had, foolishly, denied having contact with the BBC Newsnight journalist Susan Watts. She had taped the interview (for record purposes only) and the BBC was about to reveal this.

I believe David learned of this impending disaster late in the morning of his death through a benign telephone call from a colleague at the Ministry of Defence. With that knowledge came an instant awareness that his honour and integrity would be besmirched and that he would not be allowed to return the following week to his beloved Baghdad.

To add to his nightmare, he had received a stiff warning from his personnel boss at the Ministry of Defence, Sir Richard Hatfield. Kelly had reassured his Whitehall bosses that he had not spoken widely to journalists. After this assurance, Sir Richard gave Kelly a direct warning, twice, that disciplinary action would be taken if facts came to light that "appeared to call into question the account and assurances you gave me". In other words, he was shown the yellow card.

The moment, I believe, that David learned of the existence of the Newsnight tape, his world collapsed. At the Hutton inquiry, Janice, his widow, recalled: "I just thought he had a broken heart; he had shrunk into himself." She has also privately subscribed to the notion that her husband had learned something dreadful late in the morning of his death.

I know, from several interviews conducted with close friends in the US, that David was in very good spirits early on the morning of his suicide. He was convinced he'd passed through the worst and would be returning to Baghdad within a week.

Those who have set their hearts on the "Kelly was murdered" theory have yet to identify: 1. Motive. 2 Perpetrators. 3.Opportunity. If these people are right, the following events must have happened on that fateful morning in 2003:

At least two people entered his house, unseen, in the small village where he lived and where every stranger is "clocked" as a stranger. The intruders then stole his garden pruning knife and his wife's co-proxamol tablets from the upstairs bathroom, still unseen. (If they came to kill him, how extraordinary that they didn't bother to bring their own instruments for the purpose.)

They then kidnapped Kelly and forced him out of the house while his wife was present. (As she was there all the time, how could she not have seen the intruders? And why would David not have shouted for help?)

While frog-marching him to the death site in the woods, the killers must have had to release him for a while, because he was seen alone by a friend on his way to the woods where he died. Indeed, both men exchanged brief pleasantries.

The killers then would have had to re-kidnap him and march him to the woods – still unseen, where they forced tablets down his throat and made him cut his own wrist. All this done without leaving a trace of forensic evidence on Kelly. (How does one force 29 tablets down a man's throat without leaving a mark of violence?)

The plot to cover up this murder (motive unknown) had to involve the local police, the local Special Branch, MI5 and MI6 (which were involved in the inquiries after his death: David was, after all, an intelligence officer) and a small cohort of government employees. Not only did these men and women willingly conspire to cover up a murder, but they have maintained their silence for seven years.

Believe all that, and you must then give some credence to the probable existence of the tooth fairy.

Tom Mangold was senior correspondent for BBC TV's Panorama. He is now a freelance reporter and author

Suggested Topics
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past