Bhutto: UK officers rule out gunshot

Benazir Bhutto died of a "severe head injury" and not a gunshot wound in an attack by a lone terrorist, Scotland Yard said today.

British detectives investigating the death of the former Pakistani prime minister have presented their report to the Pakistani authorities, which was released by the Foreign Office today.

The report concluded that Ms Bhutto's only apparent injury was a major trauma to the right side of the head, caused by hitting the escape hatch to her vehicle and not by a gunshot wound. All the evidence suggested a lone attacker fired the shots before blowing himself up.

Ms Bhutto died in an attack during a political rally in Rawalpindi on 27 December.

A report from Home Office pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary said: "The only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb blast."

It added: "In my opinion, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a severe head injury sustained as a consequence of the bomb blast and due to head impact somewhere in the escape hatch of the vehicle."

The report said the only X-rays taken after the death were of Ms Bhutto's head. There was no post mortem and no CT scan.

But the pathologist concluded that a shot to the mid or lower body would have been impossible because of the armoured vehicle in which she was travelling.

A shot to the upper body or neck could not be ruled out, but given the evidence of family and hospital staff who examined the body, this was unlikely, the report said.

And given the severity of the head injury, a shot to the body or neck would not have been a "relevant factor" in the cause of death.

A team from the Metropolitan Police was invited to Pakistan in January by the authorities because of the controversy about how Ms Bhutto died.

The team, led by Detective Superintendent John MacBrayne, delivered its report to interim interior minister Hamid Nawaz.

Despite speculation that two people were involved in the attack - a gunman and a suicide bomber - the report said all available evidence suggested it was the same person.

The body parts of only one individual remain unidentified, and police believe this is the suicide bomber.

Television footage combined with the findings of the forensic explosive expert, place the gunman and the bomber in the same position, only a few yards to the rear of the vehicle.

Anyone in such a position could not conceivably have survived, the report said.

The report concludes: "In essence, all the evidence indicates that one suspect has fired the shots before detonating an improvised explosive device.

"At the time of the attack this person was standing close to the rear of Ms Bhutto's vehicle.

"The blast caused a violent collision between her head and the escape hatch area of the vehicle, causing a severe and fatal head injury."

The report, released through the British High Commission in Islamabad, said the wider investigation to establish culpability remained entirely a matter for the Pakistani authorities.

Mr MacBrayne said the investigation was complicated by the lack of an extended search of the crime scene, the lack of a post mortem, and the lack of a victim identification process.

But he said the available evidence was sufficient for reliable conclusions to be drawn.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
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

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea