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UK Politics

Kelly death 'textbook suicide' says pathologist

The pathologist who performed the autopsy on David Kelly said his death was a "textbook case" of suicide.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Nicholas Hunt said he found no signs of murder on the former weapons inspector after an eight-hour examination.

The Home Office scientist also said he was horrified at the way the Labour government treated Dr Kelly, 59, who was identified as the source of a BBC story claiming the Government "sexed up" its now notorious dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Hunt said he would welcome a full inquest into Dr Kelly's death, called for by campaigners who question the suicide verdict recorded in the controversial Hutton Inquiry.

He told The Sunday Times: "I felt very, very sorry for David Kelly and the way he had been treated by the government...I had every reason to look for something untoward and would dearly love to have found something.

"It was an absolute classic case of self-inflicted injury. You could illustrate a textbook with it.

"If it were anyone else and you were to suggest there's something foul about it, you would be referred for additional training. I would welcome an inquest, I've nothing to hide."

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003 as week after he was identified as the BBC source.

In the outcry that followed, Tony Blair appointed Lord Hutton to head a public inquiry into his death. Unusually, the then lord chancellor Lord Falconer ruled it should also act as an inquest.

Lord Hutton concluded Dr Kelly took his own life and that the principal cause of death was "bleeding from incised wounds to his left wrist which Dr Kelly had inflicted on himself with the knife found beside his body".

He also found the scientist took an overdose of co-proxamol tablets - a painkiller commonly used for arthritis - and that he was suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition.

But there have been a number of calls for another examination of the case, most recently from a group of eight experts who wrote to The Times claiming Lord Hutton's conclusions were unsafe and former Tory leader Lord Howard.

They argued that a severed ulnar artery, the wound found to Dr Kelly's wrist, was unlikely to be life-threatening unless an individual had a blood clotting deficiency.

Their viewpoint has been given weight after the detective who found his body revealed he did not see "much blood".

But Mr Hunt said: "Nobody would have seen the amount of blood at the scene. In actual fact there were big, thick clots of blood inside the sleeve, which came down over the wrist, and a lot of blood soaked into the ground..

"They might not have seen it, but it was there and I noted it in my report."

The pathologist added that there was "nothing to suggest" the body had been moved, another claim from critics of investigation.

The Government's most senior law officer, Dominic Grieve, last week indicated that he was prepared to intervene over the controversy surrounding Dr Kelly's death in order to "give the public reassurance".

But he said he would need to see new evidence before considering applying for a full inquest.