After David Cameron recently said a full inquest into David Kelly’s death was unnecessary, it was no surprise that his Attorney General soon afterward echoed his statement. Excerpts from the BBC:
On the day Dr Kelly’s body was discovered, then Prime Minister Tony Blair asked Lord Hutton to conduct an urgent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.
Unusually, the inquest opened into Dr Kelly’s death was never completed.
Lord Hutton released his findings in January 2004, reporting that the scientist had committed suicide by slashing his wrist with a blunt gardening knife.
Lord Hutton requested that the details of the post-mortem examination and toxicology tests be classified for 70 years – to protect the privacy of the Kelly family.
Why have there been calls for an inquest?
A group of doctors have mounted a long-running campaign for the inquest into Dr Kelly’s death to be re-opened, arguing that Lord Hutton’s suicide verdict was unsafe.
“No coroner in the land would have reached a suicide verdict on the evidence which Lord Hutton heard,” they say.
They believe Dr Kelly’s wrist wounds were not likely to be life-threatening, making the official cause of death – a haemorrhage – “extremely unlikely”.
They say unanswered questions surrounding the death remain, including:
* why no fingerprints were found on the knife apparently used to slit his wrist
* how Dr Kelly obtained a packet of coproxamol painkillers
* why his blood and stomach contained only a non-toxic dose of the drug
* why he was not spotted by a police helicopter with thermal imaging cameras which
flew over the wood where his body was later found
* whether he intended to kill himself
In September last year they petitioned Attorney General Dominic Grieve for the re-opening of inquiries.
It “may represent one of the gravest miscarriages of justice to occur in this country”, the doctors said in a letter in March appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron to intervene on their behalf.
But, in June 2011, Mr Grieve rejected the doctors’ petition. He said his department had thoroughly investigated their complaints and could not find any legal basis for referring the case to the High Court, which has the legal authority to order an inquest.
Following the government’s decision, the doctors who had petitioned Mr Grieve called for his resignation.
Campaign leader Dr Stephen Frost said: “The continuing cover-up of the truth of what happened is a national disgrace and should be of concern to all British citizens.”
The group will now seek to take the decision to judicial review.