Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Death of David Kelly - Dr. Richard Shepherd's evidence to the Diana and Dodi inquest

I've recently become aware that Dr. Richard Shepherd not only features prominently in the forensic pathology assessment of the suspicious death of Dr. David Kelly but also played a significant role in the interpretation of the high profile deaths of Diana, Princes of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed.

Dr. Shepherd gave evidence at what I'll call the Diana and Dodi inquest.

The transcript of his oral evidence to the Inquest on 22nd January 2008 is here:
Hearing Transcripts: 22 January 2008.

The first page of a report jointly prepared by Richard Shepherd and Professor Peter Vanezis is online here: JOINT FORENSIC MEDICAL REPORT Concerning the deaths and postmortem examinations of Henri Paul, Dodi Al Fayed, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Pages 2 to 12 of that report are, so far as I'm aware, not publicly available.

Professor Vanezis featured in a newspaper article which tried to discredit quetions about the death of David Kelly.

In an article published on 24th October 2010 on the Guardian website, The experts are clear on how David Kelly died, Professor Vanezis is quoted as follows:

Professor Peter Vanezis, senior consultant in forensic medicine to the armed forces, said: "These people are more clinicians and are obviously surprised that a person can kill themselves like that." Vanezis said the lack of large amounts of blood in the wood where Kelly was discovered could also be easily explained: "It was outside – it could have gone into the soil."

Dr. Shepherd also played a significant part in the Operation Paget investigation.

Lord Stevens describes a team of the "finest independent experts" and goes on to thank two experts in particular, one of whom is Dr. Shepherd. Lord Stevens describes Dr. Shepherd as follows,

Dr Richard SHEPHERD, is a Consultant Forensic Pathologist and Home Office Pathologist. He has given me his expert opinion on the medical condition and injuries of the Princess of Wales, Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul following the collision.

See page 4 of the abbreviated Report of Operation Paget here: The Operation Paget inquiry report into the allegation of conspiracy to murder (Overview report).

In my own mind I'm clear that Dr. Shepherd's evidence about the death of Dr. Kelly is seriously deficient.

I also believe that the deficiencies in Dr. Shepherd's evidence are likely to be wilful deficiencies.

In other words, Dr. Shepherd provided unwarranted support and credibility for an unsafe conclusion of Dr. Nicholas Hunt.

The effect of Dr. Shepherd's actions, in my view, are to conceal the murder of David Kelly.

The question now forming in my mind is whether Dr. Shepherd's actions with respect to the death of David Kelly are are the first occasion in which he has acted in that way.

That's a question I propose to look into more closely when time allows.

Interestingly, another forensic scientist is singled out for thanks on page 4 of the abbreviated Report for Operation Paget - Professor Robert Forrest.

The same Professor Robert Forrest who in a Conspiracy Files programme made reassuring noises about the death of David Kelly along these lines:

The concentrations in Dr Kelly’s blood are on the low side. We normally see higher concentrations than that in a person who has died of an overdose of co-proxamol. But if you’ve got heart disease – and if there is something else going on like blood loss, then all three of those are going to act together. The overdose of co-proxamol, the heart disease and the blood loss.

I’ve got no doubt that the cause of Dr Kelly’s death was a combination of blood loss, heart disease and overdose of co-proxamol. Not necessarily in that order. If I was going to put it in order I’d put the overdose of co-proxamol first. But it’s important that all of them had interacted to lead to the death.

Another eminent forensic scientist making reassuring noises.

Are they all acting honestly and with justification for their reassuring noises about the death of David Kelly?


  1. A leading pathologist says the possibility MI6 officer Gareth Williams died alone should be re-examined.

    Dr Richard Shepherd told the BBC there is "credible evidence" that bags identical to the one Mr Williams was found in can be locked by someone inside the bag.

  2. Notice though the text on photo 3 of the BBC Report[2 May 2012] :
    Shepherd:"The balance of probability is that Gareth was alive when he got in the bag.” He added: "I think there could have been a period of awareness that he needed to get out. The length of time might have been short."

    Yet the expert witness Peter Faulding, an expert in confined space rescue said that he believed that Mr Williams was dead or unconscious before being placed in the bag. He suggested it would have been possible to shut Mr Williams in the holdall as long as rigor mortis had not set in.

    Again on May 24, Shepherd persists with this line on BBC Radio 4 Today programme :

    "From my point of view, as I look across the deaths associated with sexual asphyxiation, this is one that fits quite neatly into that product, bizarre though it is.

    “If this evidence is shown to be correct, it needs to have further consideration.”
    as reported in the Huffington Post. i.e. a textbook case....

    Shepherd is pushing the sex game line.

    Again though, Peter Faulding adds a touch of reality to this by countering Shepherd: "..nobody could achieve it [locking themselves inside the bag, as a woman proved to be possible] without leaving her DNA or trace on the bath and that’s the key to this."

    Why was Shepherd pushing this line??