Widow to tell of family trauma

The final week of the first stage of the Hutton inquiry begins tomorrow with potentially devastating evidence from David Kelly's widow, Janice.

Mrs Kelly, 58, who is stricken with arthritis, is likely to appear via video link from her Oxfordshire home. Her daughter, Rachel, 30, will also give evidence along with other family members and friends.

The family has so far said nothing in public except for a short statement released after Dr Kelly's body was found, in which they said his life had been made "intolerable".

But glimpses of Mrs Kelly's grief, and the upset caused by the questions raised over her husband's reputation, have already been revealed in documents released on the inquiry's website.

After Tom Kelly, the Prime Minister's official spokesman, referred to Dr Kelly as a "Walter Mitty figure", Mrs Kelly's solicitor wrote to the Government in an attempt to stop the smears.

"If information of this nature is being disseminated, either formally or informally, I should like to know on whose authority this is being done," Peter Jacobson wrote to the Treasury Solicitor.

The politicians, civil servants and journalists who have appeared before Lord Hutton have shed unprecedented light on the workings of government. Mrs Kelly's appear-ance will introduce a potent human dimensionto the inquiry.

The haze over how Dr Kelly really felt about his treatment will be lifted, and the fact that a family has been robbed of a husband and father will be brought centre stage. The image of the frail Mrs Kelly is likely to be one of the most enduring of the inquiry.

The inquiry will throw up a few surprises this week. On Wednesday so far unnamed Defence Intelligence staff will give evidence. It is known that some staff had reservations about the wording of the 45-minute claim.

On Thursday the inquiry will be adjourned for a week, resuming on 15 September. It is then scheduled to sit until 25 September, when Lord Hutton will adjourn to write his report.

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