Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Death of David Kelly - Another minor inaccuracy in the evidence of Janice Kelly

In her evidence given on the morning of Monday 1st September 2003 Janice Kelly stated on page 8 that Dr. Kelly was thinking of retiring in 2005:

8 Q. And had he talked about his retirement, at that stage?
9 A. Yes, but only in general terms. Later on he gave a date
10 to it. At that stage he was thinking perhaps of 2005.

However, in an email (E-mail from Dr Kelly 4 March 03) sent on 4th March 2003 to an unknown recipient David Kelly is clear that he expects to retire in a year's time i.e. March 2004 (the time of his 60th birthday):

Retirement is a year away for me and I continue to observe Iraq from far away for FCO and MOD and will continue until 2004

Yet another point regarding which there is reason to question the reliability of Janice Kelly's evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Is this an example of Janice Kelly projecting her thoughts or feelings on to David Kelly? As an experienced civil servant he would have known that the normal retirement age was 60.


  1. Andrew

    what perplexes me is that all the visible disciplinary procedures stem from the MoD. Both Susan Watts and an Australian TV team needed to go through the FCO Press Office for scientific programmes. James Paver is kept well away from the Hutton Inquiry. The problem stems, I suspect ,from the incomprehensible status of Dr Kelly, one which also so intrigued Susan Watts. She quizzed him about his status in an email.
    Her notes on SJW/5/40 seem to show she asked a similar question at the FCO Internation Security Day on Guy Fawkes Day 2002.(Non-proliferation vs Counter Proliferation) Whoops, Watts seems also to be asking also about the fitted up and compensated alleged US Anthrax attack culprit, Steven Hatill!! That's a very tricky area.Apparently Watts is told there that Hatfill's PhD is bogus. But then Watts had reported on CIA involvement in anthrax attack experiments for Newsnight on 14 March 2002.Worth reading.

  2. Felix

    That website that contains the Susan Watts Newsnight report is an absolute beauty! So far I've only really read the Watts item but the huge number of other pieces on anthrax look very interesting indeed!

  3. Brian, if you have a spare lifetime, this website will bring you right up to date. The interesting bit is the story of Bruce Ivins who mysteriously dies from a Co-proxamol overdose on 29 July 2008.

  4. Felix,

    Tylenol PM contains paracetamol and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine), as I understand it.

    Like co-proxamol (which is a combination of paracetamol and dextropropoxyphene), Tylenol PM contains paracetamol and another drug (diphenhydramine).

    However, unless there is a variant preparation that I'm unaware of, Bruce Ivins didn't ingest co-proxamol (from my quick skim of the link).

  5. Sorry,Darvocet is the US nearest equivalent to Co-proxamol. There was no initial autopsy but allegedly initial blood tests indicated overdose by Tylenol with Codeine. Codeine & Dextropoxyphene being both opiods, so I guess Co-proxamol and Tylenol-Codeine are equivalents. A final report released in 2009 however indicated Tylenol PM as the cause - i.e. somewhat altered from the earlier Tylenol-Codeine cause reported in the LA Times. No autopsy was perfored. See eg here
    The Wikipedia page of drug related deaths is not helpful because it says David Kelly died from 30 Co-proxamol tablets!

  6. Back on message now -
    Mrs Pape also mentions Dr Kelly's pension arrangements (how could she not touch on the subject in her remarkable exegesis).
    He told me that his main concern about this was that he had actually just discovered that unlike universities, he was not going to be retiring at 65 but at 60. He had not realised that retirement was quite so soon and it had occurred to him if he was not earning his full salary in his last few years that that would affect his pension. So we discussed this; and I was surprised to find that he earned considerably less than I did..
    Just discovered (in May 2002). Really? I can only echo your last sentence, Andrew

  7. And Mrs Pape does not leave it there,she returns to Dr Kelly's retirement with renewed vigor:
    But one of the things we talked about a lot, and I think he may have talked about this with me more than with other members of the family, was the fact that he really did not want to retire at 60. He had taken that really as quite surprising news. He really thought he was going to work until he was 65 and was quite dismayed at the thought that come 60 he would be mowing his lawn every day.
    Q. Was there any particular aspect which concerned him about retiring at 60?
    A. One was his feeling that there was still an awful lot of work to be done in Iraq in uncovering the weapons of mass destruction that he was absolutely convinced were buried in the sand in the desert in some way or concealed in some way. He very much had the feeling he had not completed the job that he went out to do as a UN weapons inspector.

    And not to be outdone,Rachel weighs in ...
    Q. Had you discussed retirement at all with your father at this stage?
    A. Yes, we often talked about his retirement. He was looking forward to retiring. Earlier this year, at the very beginning of the year, he was -- just before and after the war and perhaps until mid May he was thinking of retiring and working for an extra year because he recognised that there was a lot happening to do with Iraq, he thought he might be needed, and he was actuall planning on staying an extra year until he was so that he could be available if needed for things happening in Iraq.
    This echoes Mrs Kelly. So, obviously quite a few different plans in there.

  8. This whole retirement business is peculiar. As early as April 2001 in a letter about his annual assessment Dr kelly wrote to his boss, Dr Scott:
    Three years away from retirement I have chosen not to complete page 2.

    That is clear evidence that he knew about retiring at 60. That doesn't mean that he never thought about going on for another year, but he was never in doubt that 60 was the official limit.

  9. Geoaunnes,

    Good spot!

    For the convenience of others here is the chain of evidence as I can piece it together.

    The reference to retirement in May 2004 comes from the oral testimony of Richard Hatfield on the morning of 11th August 2003.

    Page 23:
    19 "Recently FCO have agreed to continue my secondment
    20 to PACS to support UK policy-making with regard to Iraq
    21 until my retirement in May 2004, and I am content with
    22 this arrangement."

    The timing of the statement comes from the Ministry of Defence Evidence page in this document Annual review April 2001 - March 2002: not for release - Personnel File MOD/3/0024-0030.