Kelly family come to terms with suicide
THE acknowledgement that Dr David Kelly was the BBC mole and Andrew Gilligan’s claim that he did not misquote or misrepresent his words leaves awkward questions for the weapons expert’s grieving family.
His wife, Janice, and three daughters were yesterday being comforted at a service at Southmoor Methodist Church in Oxfordshire, close to the Kelly family home.
The awkward questions may wait, but in time they will be asked. If Dr Kelly was the source, and was not misrepresented, then it is possible that he may have held back some information when he appeared before the foreign affairs select committee. Did he tell Mr Gilligan too much, then regret it? Did he mention Alastair Campbell or not? Did his words, even if not used directly, lead Mr Gilligan to conclude he was being told the dossier was "sexed up"?
A weapons expert educated at Oxford, Dr Kelly was a religious man who followed the Baha’i faith, which rejects suicide in any circumstances. Yesterday, Barnabas Leith, the secretary of the national assembly of the Baha’is in the UK, said the religion condemned suicide but that God was "merciful" to those who had suffered.
Dr Kelly, who took painkillers and slashed his left wrist at a beauty-spot close to his home in Southmoor on Friday after telling his family he was going for a walk, converted to the pacifist faith - which has 6,000 adherents in the UK - four years ago while in the US. He regularly attended local gatherings in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Mr Leith said: "The true position is that the Baha’i teachings strongly condemn suicide. Baha’is believe that the soul of the individual comes ever closer to God in the life after death. Those who take their own lives risk damaging their soul in the life hereafter.
"But this does not mean they cease to be Baha’is. And Baha’is believe that God is always merciful to those who have suffered in this life. Baha’is throughout the world are praying for the progress of David Kelly’s soul."
Mr Leith said Baha’is did not have a regular weekly meeting but members would be praying for Dr Kelly, his wife, eldest daughter Sian, 32, and twins Ellen and Rachel, 30.
Residents were also praying for Dr Kelly at St Mary’s Church in his neighbouring village of Longworth, near the site where his body was found on Harrowdown Hill. The Rev Joe Cotterill, said Mrs Kelly attended occasional services at the 13th century church.
In his sermon, Mr Cotterill asked the congregation of 18 people to pray for the family and all those involved with the tragedy, and to ask God to give them "courage and hope". He said after the service: "I’m not sure people here are coming to terms with Dr Kelly’s death. It’s more a matter of asking why, why, why?
"There is grief and sadness, for Janice Kelly and the children but particularly for Mrs Kelly who is afflicted with arthritis."
He said he mentioned the Kellys in his sermon because it was the church’s duty to deal with events in the "outside world" and to help the community. "It’s part of the church’s purpose to go out and express sympathy and love for those who are suffering," he said.
©Copyright 2003, The Scotsman (UK)
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