Monday, 8 November 2010

The Death of David Kelly - The surprising behaviour of the Kelly family

During the period when I was observing the David Kelly affair, for want of a better term, from a distance I found the continued silence of the family puzzling.

That puzzlement has increased further since I've spent considerable time looking at the evidence that relates to how Dr. David Kelly died.

If a relative of mine had died in suspicious circumstances, a conclusion of suicide had been pronounced by a substandard inquiry and increasing doubts were being raised about the "suicide hypothesis" I think I'd be pushing very hard indeed for an inquest to discover the truth.

Yet, despite a range of substantive doubts being raised about how David Kelly died, nobody in the Kelly family is publicly seeking an inquest.


I find that extremely odd behaviour.

As a human being I find it extremely odd. As a doctor, I find it extremely odd.

And, as with all "odd" things relating to the death of Dr. David Kelly i've tried to make some sense of it by examining all the possibilities that occur to me, whether those possibilities initially seem "likely" or "unlikely".

The possibilities that occur to me are listed below with brief comments about how I currently view them.

1. The Kelly family are "very private" - I don't find this credible as an explanation for the continued monolithic silence of the Kelly family. A desire for privacy can be the habitual behaviour of many human beings, but I find it very difficult to conceive of a scenario where a desire for privacy carries more weight than a desire to know if a relative has been murdered or not.

2. The Kelly family don't care - This would explain the silence. After all if you don't care, then why seek the hassle of an inquest? But the "don't care" hypothesis seems improbable. Even if, hypothetically, some in the Kelly family didn't care it's not credible, I suggest, to hypothesise that nobody in the Kelly family cares about the truth of how David Kelly died.

3. The Kelly family have been bought off - This, too, could explain the silence, but doesn't seem credible to explain the monolithic silence. Some could be "bought off" but surely not everyone?

4. The Kelly family has something to conceal - If the Kelly family has something to conceal then an inquest would be a highly undesirable next step. After all, those members of the family who gave evidence to Hutton will be questioned under oath. Additionally, those members of the family not questioned by Hutton may also be publicly questioned.

There is a definite possibility that issues which were avoided or were skated over at the Hutton Inquiry would be examined in forensic detail, under oath in a Coroner's Court.

For whom would that be an undesired possibility?

What might there be to hide?

What might there be to hide that is more important than finding out the truth about how Dr. David Kelly died?


  1. I was surprised that the Kelly family decided to have him buried rather than cremated. I also read somewhere that his colleagues were warned (by MI6?)not to attend the funeral.

  2. There could be a connection between the break in at the dentist and the decision to opt for burial.

    Dental records wouldn't be of lasting value in the context of a cremation.

  3. I am also completely perplexed. I have read all the very matter-of-fact Hutton exchanges. The only thing which makes sense to me is that he is alive.

  4. Felix,

    The "third man" in the Kelly case has featured in relation to DC Coe's evidence.

    Do you recall the plot of the film "The Third Man"?

    A man, Harry Lime, who was supposed to be dead turned out to be alive.

    Wouldn't it be interesting if your suggestion proved to be well founded in a more contemporary setting?

  5. One curious feature in this case is that the only place where I can find any trace of a formal identification of the body (late morning, Saturday) is in the Mail on Sunday of 20 July 2003. Norman Baker quotes this fact, adding a time, 11.25am which I find nowhere else. Is it not curious that this very important fact does not get formally recorded at the Hutton Inquiry?

  6. Felix,

    Not only curious, it's bizarre.

    One question missing from the Hutton Inquiry is something like this:

    "Mrs. Kelly you carried out the formal identification of the body, is that correct? Can you confirm that the body was that of your husband, David Kelly?"

    Of course, that's only one of many fundamental questions that the Hutton Inquiry failed to ask.

  7. There is of course another scenario that fully explains the strange behaviour of the Kelly family.
    They do actually believe he took his own life!
    For goodness sake there are thousands of people out there who think the same. Many of them are intelligent educated people, many of them read the Guardian or the Times and some of them even write in these papers.
    So why are we different? Quite simply we think “outside of the box”. We don’t conform and comply, we question and complain.
    The Kelly’s may simply not be like that.

  8. Ffrank,

    The possibility that "the Kelly family" actually believe he committed suicide is "obvious".

    The problem with that explanation, at least as I see it, is that there is a seeming monolithic belief that he committed suicide.

    And that monolithic seeming belief persists despite the evidence being so flakey.

    David Kelly wasn't stupid.

    I assume that his family aren't (uniformly) stupid either.

    The Kelly family, I think, would need to be stupid on two counts for the current monolithic silence to be explicable.

    1. Not to have any doubts about the Hutton verdict.

    2. To believe that keeping silent is the way to resolve genuine questions about David Kelly's death.

    I simply don't believe that the Kelly family are so (uniformly) stupid.

  9. Andrew,
    Can Mrs Kelly's behavior be attributed to any kind of deppression? She was after all the one on coproxamol, was she taking anything else? or can coproxamol cause the user to become depressed? Do we need to ask the "expert" Keith Hawton? According to him coproxamol was such a killer.

  10. Ffrank,

    Are you asking about Mrs. Kelly's behaviour in June and July 2003?

    Or since?

    Or both?

  11. A propos the suggested option 3. see this article from yesterday's news:

    Could the Kelly family have signed a similar legally-binding confidentiality agreement as part of some sort of financial settlement?

  12. Andrew,
    I was thinking June 2003. Her behaviour then was typical of someone suffering from depression.
    Yes, from then on the family was clearly paid-off, if you look back you will see their QC was making a case for compensation:

  13. This Daily Mail article has some 2004 information.
    The numbers don't seem to add up to much, also the rather meagre estate of £176,000. (house sold for £720,000, and resold 2010 for £820,000) So, a valuation of half the home c 2003 (held as Tenants in Common) would have been at least £350,000 on its own? Any thoughts? Dr Kelly must have had no small salary.

  14. Frank,

    Is there any evidence that the family was "clearly paid-off"?

    I'm asking not because I doubt the possibility but because it would be important to demonstrate it, if it had occurred.

    We know, from recent events,
    that legally binding confidentiality agreements can be made with parties who were (allegedly) wrongly treated.

  15. Felix,

    Somewhere it was mentioned that the Kellys' mortgage wasn't fully paid off. But, surely, the amount would have been tiny by 2003 given (if I interpret the information correctly) they had lived in the same house in Southmoor since 1984 (or earlier).

    David Kelly's salary as of July 2003 was (or was about to be) a little over £60k.

    I wonder if you're underestimating the whole:

    1. Tax-free £180k ex MoD
    2. "Cash" left by David Kelly £176k
    3. Value of the house £700k (assumes there was life insurance to cover any outstanding mortgage)

    So the total "cash" would, on that calculation, be around £1056k.

    Out of which she buys a new (smaller) house.

    Speculative but might be a better fit to the real situation?

  16. Interesting, Andrew!

    It depends how estates are calculated for probate I guess. Some will details here

  17. Frank,

    A propos Janice Kelly's health ... In June / July 2003 she is, I would say, pretty anxious and/or stressed.

    Is that about David Kelly's work? Or something else?

    She, if I remember correctly, gave evidence that she didn't know about the 30th June letter to Bryan Wells at the time.

    So, if Janice Kelly was anxious/stressed about something in June 2003 it couldn't be the Andrew Gilligan angle.

    Another possibility is the phrase in one of Tom Mangold's article which refers to a marriage that had "run its course".

    Of course, all we know about Janice Kelly's health is the "arthritis". Having arthritis doesn't mean that you can't have other health problems too.