To find the truth one has to examine the evidence - all the evidence! Even the evidence that it might be more congenial to ignore.
I'm conscious that in this post I'll explore issues which will make at least some readers uncomfortable - the state of the Kelly marriage. Yet to ignore the question is to risk missing important elements of the Truth.
If some of the media reports are true, then Janice Kelly's evidence has to be viewed in a different light, a more unfavourable light, than was the case when she gave evidence to the Hutton Inquiry on 1st September 2003.
Similarly, the evidence of Professor Keith Hawton is further called into question since much of his evidence is based on a remarkably uncritical regurgitation of what Janice Kelly told him.
The Hutton Inquiry, to the surprise of few, is almost entirely silent on the state of the Kelly marriage.
Almost entirely silent but not quite.
As almost the final question in Janice Kelly's evidence we read this in the transcript of her evidence on the morning of Monday 1st September 2003 (pages 54 and 55):
21 Q. I have just been asked to ask one thing. There was
22 a report in one of the newspapers yesterday that there
23 had been some rows; is there anything you would like to
24 say in relation to that?
25 A. Absolutely not. We did not row. If we had
1 a disagreement, we agreed to disagree. There was
2 absolutely no row whatsoever. I was in no physical
3 state anyway and neither was David. There was
4 absolutely no row.
According to Janice Kelly there were no rows.
But Professor Alastair Hay paints a different picture. He is quoted in an article in the Telegraph of 31st August 2003, Kelly and wife 'rowed in hours before his death':
Professor Alastair Hay, a close friend of Dr Kelly, said last week: "It is going to be very difficult for Mrs Kelly when she gives evidence because of all the things that have gone on between them.
"They [the Hutton Inquiry lawyers] will be asking what was said between them. You can't undo any of those things. We are all human and things do get said because of the pressure you are under."
Interestingly, the Hutton Inquiry lawyers gracefully sidestepped any exploration of such issues, with the exception of the single question quoted earlier.
The same article claims that David and Janice Kelly had rowed about his appearing before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee:
Another friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said Dr Kelly had told friends that he had rowed with his wife over his submission to the Commons foreign affairs select committee.
On 28th January 2004 (the day the Hutton Report was published), Terence Taylor a friend of David Kelly was quoted in this Evening Standard article, Determined widow prepares to fight back , as saying this:
"There is no question there were marital problems at home," says Terence Taylor, a close friend who stayed with the couple shortly before Dr Kelly's death.
"It is a deeply private subject but, from my point of view and from what I observed, there were problems within the marriage, very much so." Even when Dr Kelly was grappling with the Gilligan crisis last summer, his wife could only stand by and observe his distress.
And last year Tom Mangold wrote this in the Independent, Tom Mangold: Shame made David Kelly kill himself:
The exposure of that lie would have meant that his career would end in disgrace and he would retire a broken man in a marriage that had effectively run its course earlier.
Was Janice Kelly telling the truth? And the other commentators were mistaken or being dishonest?
If Janice Kelly is telling the truth there are two pieces of evidence that, to my mind at least, make no sense:
- Janice Kelly portrays herself as a supportive wife in her evidence to the Hutton Inquiry. If that was true, why did she stay behind in Cornwall when David Kelly returned to Oxford on Sunday 13th July 2003? If the relationship between David Kelly and Janice were good and she was as supportive as she portrayed herself to the Hutton Inquiry surely she would have wanted to be at his side ... supporting. And, if Janice Kelly's evidence were reliable, David Kelly would have wanted her at his side ... supporting. Not least since 15th July 2003, the day David Kelly gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was their 36th wedding anniversary.
- Janice Kelly portrays David Kelly at lunchtime on 17th July 2003 as, supposedly, being unable to communicate coherently, yet as I've described in the post The Death of David Kelly - On 17th July 2003 a busy professional was efficiently clearing his backlog of work , with everyone but Janice David Kelly was behaving like a competent and diligent professional who had been through a tough time but was coping well with the backlog of tasks before an anticipated departure to Iraq in the following week.
The two preceding points seem to me to indicate a marriage that was in serious trouble. A husband and wife between whom there was such tension and alienation that they had reached the point where they could barely speak to each other.
Is there a credible alternative interpretation?
In my view there is a clear but uncomfortable choice: believe Janice Kelly or believe other sources of information on the question of the state of the Kelly marriage.
If Janice Kelly misled Hutton on the issue of the state of the Kelly marriage what else might she have been less than honest about?