8th August 23:15
Lee Steinmetz > Seven steps to a scientist's death > David Kelly (death faith religion clear control)
Seven steps to a scientist's death
By Jonathon Carr-Brown and Nicholas Hellen, The Sunday Times
September 22, 2003
A confidential report by detectives investigating the death of British
weapons expert David Kelly has identified the chain of events that led to
his apparent suicide.
The report, due to be handed to the Hutton inquiry this week, is understood
to identify the key incidents as the row between the BBC and the Blair
Government over Kelly's secret briefing to BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan
spiralled out of control.
The Thames Valley police report is being submitted to law lord Brian Hutton
in his additional role as coroner investigating the immediate causes of
More than 30 detectives have spent the past two months trawling over every
detail of Kelly's final weeks. They have scrutinised all his personal
papers, including the contents of seven computers on which he kept do***ents
and thousands of emails.
Sources say the police report reflects the account given by Kelly's wife
Janice in her public evidence to the inquiry.
She told Lord Hutton how her husband's demeanour had changed towards the end
of June and highlighted key events:
dossier on Iraq's weapons capability being "***ed up". He told his wife at
the time he was worried about "something professional".
July 8: While watching a Channel 4 news report about how an unnamed Ministry
of Defence official had admitted speaking to Gilligan, he said he was
Gilligan's source. "He was desperately unhappy about possibly being named,"
July 9: Nicholas Rufford, a senior reporter at The Sunday Times, called at
Kelly's Oxfordshire home. After he left, Kelly told his wife he felt
"totally let down" by the MoD.
July 10: While hiding from the media in Cornwall after being named in that
morning's daily newspapers, Kelly went "totally ballistic" when the MoD said
he was to appear before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
July 14: The scientist's mood became blacker when he was told British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had described him as a junior official. Kelly
reacted with "hysterical laughter". He was deeply hurt, according to his
July 15: His appearance before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee turned
into "a total nightmare". Kelly had to run a media gauntlet and faced
July 17: He was forced by the MoD to admit his contacts with Susan Watts,
another BBC correspondent. Janice Kelly said it "appeared he had a broken
heart". She added: "He looked as though he had shrunk. He couldn't put two
That afternoon he went for his last walk. Police have already told the
inquiry they are satisfied there is no evidence any third party was involved
in his death. They also found no foundation for suggestions that any close
friendships he might have had with female colleagues contributed in any way
to his death.
The report comes as British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon is preparing to
admit he did play a role in exposing Kelly to the media.
In evidence earlier this month, Hoon said he had played "no part" in drawing
up the strategy.
Asked by James Dingemans, counsel to the inquiry, if he had any knowledge of
question-and-answer papers telling press officers how to confirm Kelly's
identity to the media, Hoon replied: "Can I make it clear that I did not see
either of these do***ents. They were not submitted to my office. That would
not be something I would normally deal with."
However, last week Pam Teare, director of news at the MoD, told Lord Hutton
she thought Hoon "may have already seen" the material. Richard Taylor,
Hoon's special adviser, earlier claimed that the Defence Secretary did
attend a meeting in which confirming Kelly's name to the media was
Hoon will be at his most vulnerable when he is cross-examined by barristers
acting for the Kelly family, which believes the MoD betrayed Kelly by
placing him in the spotlight.
However, last week MoD officials took a harder line when quizzed on this
issue, saying they had done everything by the book and that Kelly had put
himself in the spotlight by briefing the BBC without authorisation in the
Two other central figures in the drama will also be exposed to
cross-examination this week. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director
of communications, is likely to be asked whether he exaggerated the
presentation of intelligence in the dossier.
Brian Jones, a former senior member of the defence intelligence staff, has
testified that in recommending changes to the dossier's language, Campbell
acted no differently from intelligence officials.
This point is also likely to be raised with John Scarlett, chairman of the
Joint Intelligence Committee. Scarlett has insisted that he - rather than
Campbell and the Downing Street spin machine - had "ownership" of the Iraq
New details have also emerged of Kelly's friendship with Mai Pederson, a US
military linguist who served with him as a UN weapons inspector in 1998 and
later introduced him to the Baha'i religion.
Pederson was his mentor when he converted to the faith in Monterey,
California, in September 1999.
This weekend Lee Steinmetz, chairman of the Baha'i chapter in Monterey,
recalled conversations he had held with the couple when he hiked with them
in 1999 to Point Lobos on the Pacific coast.
Steinmetz dismissed suggestions that Pederson's faith was simply a pretext
to extract intelligence from Kelly. He said he saw nothing that suggested
they were involved in a romantic relationship.
Gilligan told friends this weekend that reports that he had been abandoned
by the BBC were wrong.
He is said to have received personal messages of support from the
corporation's senior management and he has no intention of resigning,
although one source said: "He understands that if it is a choice between him
and the renewal of the BBC charter, he will be thrown overboard."
EVIDENCE grows... Dr. David Kelly & the Baha'i Faith
Roger Kingdon versus Barney Leith's Account
Mai Pederson (Al-Sadat) Arab Kuwaiti American Baha'i
The Bahai Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience