Paramedics Query Kelly Suicide

December 12, 2004
By Adam Lusher and James Fraser-Andrews
UK Telegraph

The paramedics who attended the death of Dr David Kelly, the government scientist at the centre of the controversy over the Iraq weapons dossier, last night disputed the Hutton inquiry's verdict that he had killed himself by slashing his wrist.

Dave Bartlett and Vanessa Hunt insisted that there was relatively little blood at the scene when Dr Kelly's body was discovered in woods near his Oxfordshire home on July 18 last year. This, they said, made it extremely unlikely that the scientist died from the cuts on his left wrist.

Dr Kelly's death last year caused a controversy that appeared to threaten the Government. He had been revealed as the source for a BBC radio report claiming that the Government had "sexed up" the case against Saddam Hussein in its dossier on the dictator's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

The Hutton Report, which largely exonerated the Government, ruled that Dr Kelly died by "bleeding from incised wounds to his left wrist". However, Mr Bartlett and Ms Hunt - both paramedics for more than 15 years - said the lack of blood around Dr Kelly's body appeared not to support such a cause of death. Ms Hunt said: "I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw. There just wasn't a lot of bloodÖ When somebody cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere."

Both paramedics gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry in September last year, explaining how they had tried unsuccessfully to revive the scientist with electrodes attached to his chest. Mr Bartlett told Lord Hutton that he was surprised there wasn't more blood if it was "an arterial bleed".

Last night, he explicitly questioned Lord Hutton's findings on the cause of death. He told the Observer newspaper, in the presence of his solicitor: "Had it been a member of my family I wouldn't have accepted what they came out with."

The paramedics, who spoke as individuals and not as representatives of Oxfordshire Ambulance Trust, their employer, did not suggest any other possible cause of death.

After the Hutton inquiry, Nicholas Gardiner, the Oxfordshire Coroner, decided there was no public interest in re-opening the inquest as Dr Kelly's family had accepted Lord Hutton's verdict and had no desire to re-open the case.

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004.

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