Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Death of David Kelly - On 17th July 2003 a busy professional was efficiently clearing his backlog of work

The evidence of Janice Kelly given to the Hutton Inquiry on the morning of Monday 1st September 2003 was that David Kelly was so distressed at lunchtime on 17th July 2003 that he could hardly speak (page 47):

9 Q. And that was how he was looking and seeming to you. Did
10 you talk much at lunch?
11 A. No, no. He could not put two sentences together. He
12 could not talk at all.

In this post I want to examine the behaviour of David Kelly on 17th July 2003, if one removes the melodramatic evidence of Janice Kelly from the picture, of which the preceding quote is a brief example.

David Kelly got up at about 08.30, according to Janice Kelly.

David Kelly spoke to Olivia Bosch to confirm details about one journalist, the information being required to answer a parliamentary question and the questions from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. See Olivia Bosch's evidence given on the morning of Thursday 4th of September 2003 at page 45.

16 Q. On 17th July, Thursday, did you talk to him that day?
17 A. Yes. He telephoned me about mid morning. I think it
18 was around 10.45 or so, but the telephone records may
19 show me perhaps. And he telephoned me because he was
20 preparing a list of journalists, which he had to do for
21 the Foreign Affairs Committee. And he asked me to help
22 him with the name of a journalist that he thought
23 I would know. It was someone he met a long time ago and
24 had moved on. I was able to help him with that name.
25 He was telling me he was preparing a list. He seemed in

Olivia Bosch's timing seems unlikely given the timing of the email which summarised journalist contacts. It was probably significantly earlier in the morning of 17th July 2003 than she suggests.

At 09.22 David Kelly sent an email to John Clark and Bryan Wells, E Mail from Dr Kelly 17 July 03, listing his journalist contacts (E Mail from Dr Kelly to John Clerk 17 July). The list had been requested orally by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 15th July 2003.

[There are two timings for the preceding email 09.22 and 10.22, possibly due to the use of GMT and BST on different computers.]

After sending the email just mentioned, David Kelly phoned his colleagues at the Ministry of Defence to tell them that the email was on the "internet machine" so they could collect and deal with the information he had sent them. See paragraph 121 of the Hutton Report.

He also phoned his line manager, Bryan Wells, at around 09.45. See Bryan Wells' evidence given on the morning of Thursday 14th August 2003 (pages 93 and 94):

17 A. Yes, I did. We had discussed, on the afternoon when he
18 was in my office, how we were going to get information
19 to answer the two PQs and also the letter from the
20 Foreign Affairs Committee -- the particular issue here
21 was that I was on leave on Thursday 17th July and so if
22 David was able to get any information to me, it would
23 have to be done by e-mail to my home. And he said he
24 thought he would be able to get the information to me by
25 about 11 o'clock, I believe. In the event, he rang me

1 about a quarter to 10 to say that he had e-mailed me the
2 information that he had.
3 Q. And that was about his contact with journalists?
4 A. That was.

At 11.18 David Kelly sent several emails to individuals who had emailed him with messages of support over the previous few days. Those emails are mentioned and quoted in the Hutton Report at Paragraph 123.

During the course of 17th July 2003 David Kelly had several telephone conversations with Wing Commander John Clark, including jointly deciding that David Kelly would travel to Iraq on 25th July 2003. Wing Commander Clark booked Dr. Kelly's tickets to and from Iraq. (See See paragraph 121 of the Hutton Report. )

David Kelly also entered in his diary 25th July 2003 as his departure date to Iraq and 10th of August 2003 as his return date. See pages 8 and 9 of Contents of diary.

At around 15.20 David Kelly was seen by Ruth Absalom. They had a chat and David Kelly's last words to her were described as follows in her oral evidence given on the morning of Tuesday 2nd September 2003 (pages 2 and 3):

12 idea. We just stopped, said hello, had a chat about
13 nothing in particular --
14 Q. What did you say to him?
15 A. He said, "Hello Ruth" and I said, "Oh hello David, how
16 are things?" He said, "Not too bad". We stood there
17 for a few minutes then Buster, my dog, was pulling on
18 the lead, he wanted to get going. I said, "I will have
19 to go, David". He said, "See you again then, Ruth" and
20 that was it, we parted.
21 Q. How did he seem to you?
22 A. Just his normal self, no different to any other time
23 when I have met him.
24 Q. Did you see whether he was carrying anything?
25 A. No, I do not think he was.

1 Q. And do you remember how long you spoke to him for?
2 A. Five minutes at the most.
3 Q. And did you see what direction he left in?
4 A. Well, he was going for his walk. I suppose he went to
5 my right, along the road towards Kingston Bagpuize
6 I suppose in the end, if he had gone round that way, but
7 obviously he was going down to the fields down the road
8 or down to the fields down the back.

In the absence of Janice Kelly's melodramatic evidence David Kelly, having been through a stressful time over the preceding several days, is busy working through the tasks that he needs to complete, has several phone conversations including making plans to go to Iraq the following week and has a normal conversation with a neighbour.

In the absence of Janice Kelly's melodrama there is, so far as I can see, nothing to suggest that David Kelly was about to commit suicide on 17th July 2003.

1 comment:

  1. All this feverish activity does not seem to square with Janice Kelly's description of Dr Kelly's behaviour before and during lunch which I can only paraphrase as completely listless verging on the cataleptic.

    In Dr Kelly's list of contacts, made with the sudden availability, after a week, of his home and computers, there is one which is,by deduction, strangely missing: Richard Stone, the European News Editor of the American journal Science. Is this article the result of that unattributable briefing? If so, how could this name have slipped his memory?