Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Tom Mangold on 18th and 19th July 2003

Where did the narratives about David Kelly's death being suicide and there being, in effect, a single source for Andrew Gilligan originate?

Interestingly, both lines of thinking can be traced back to Tom Mangold on 18th and 19th July 2003.

In an article published on 19th July 2003, Kelly 'believed he was major source' for Gilligan?s story, Tom Mangold is quoted as stating "He felt he was Gilligan's major source.".

Despite the "headline" quote, much of the article casts doubt on Mangold's speculation.

Similarly, we find in an article (Kelly 'didn't want to live') in the Sun published on 19th July 2003 Mangold is quoted as saying that Janice Kelly stated the following to him: "“She didn’t use the word depressed, but she said he was very unhappy and this was really not the kind of world he wanted to live in."

The Guardian in an article posted on 18th July 2003, Body matches Kelly's description, quotes Mangold as having stated the same words to ITV News (presumably earlier on 18th July 2003).

I don't pretend that Tom Mangold is the only source from which these matters might be traced but I find it very interesting that he is so active in the media propagating these two ideas so soon after David Kelly's death.

By early afternoon on 18th July 2003 (perhaps even before Dr. Nicholas Hunt began to examine David Kelly's body) Tom Mangold is briefing that it was suicide.

One has to ask what motives he might have for briefing the media in such a way before the facts were known.


  1. Andrew

    The Guardian article of 18 July is quite interesting. The Intelligence & Security Committee evidence of 16 July does not figure at all in the report.

    Notice Mangold had also hotfooted it into the Radio 4 PM studio that same afternoon (Independent link) but I can't find any transcript in the Hutton evidence.

  2. Felix,

    Mangold gave oral evidence to Hutton on 4th September 2003.

  3. Felix,

    By the way in the oral transcript for 4th September 2003, there is a mention of a "safe house" but it's by Olivia Bosch (see Page 29).

    So far as I can see Tom Mangold is entirely silent about the "safe house", which I find surprising given his public statements on 18th July 2003 (only 6 weeks or so before he gave evidence to Hutton).

  4. Thanks, Andrew. Some of the Bosch evidence doesn't ring true to me though. Having said that, what Mangold says about the identification of Dr Kelly seems very reasonable. However, he continues...
    I knew the moment I got the phone call at 9 o'clock in the morning,(18 July) I knew that he had to be dead because David Kelly did not go missing. If he was missing, he was dead.
    To paraphrase, Dr Kelly didn't do missing.

  5. Andrew

    Did you notice this Guardian article of Monday 21 July 2003 by Claire Cozens, drawing heavily on Tom Mangold's insights?
    "Caught in a Nutcracker" mentions Dr Kelly sitting in a safe house and emails which subsequently emerged at the Hutton Inquiry. What is the origin of the dark actors line? The BBC News on Saturday evening, 19 July is already quoting dark actors and an interview given by Mrs Kelly to the New York Times (no connection with Judy Miller there, then!), quoted here in the Scotsman.
    Who, I wonder, was the leading forensic expert who posited late on 19th July that "Kelly may have taken the tablets in an initial suicide attempt, possibly when he first went out for his walk.
    He probably cut his wrist later after the drugs failed to kill him quickly enough"
    ? Dr Keith Hawton I presume?

  6. PS

    The Independent actually reported the safe house in the last week of July 2003 in Hockley, near Southend Airport and also Mrs Kelly being offered a place in Jersey (excellent air links between the two!). Whence did the Independent get this information?

    Incidentally, Tom Mangold worked for the BBC between 1964 and 2003. He had certainly left the BBC to go freelanceby 5 August 2003 and was making a Kelly documentary for Ch4.,shown Oct 2003. However this BBC page on Panorama history says he left the programme in 2001.