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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK

Kelly funeral date announced

Dr Kelly's body was found in woods in Longworth, Oxon

The funeral of government weapons expert Dr David Kelly will be held in the Oxfordshire village where his body was found, Thames Valley Police has announced.

The private service will take place at 1400 BST on Wednesday, 6 August, at St Mary's Church in Longworth, about three miles from Dr Kelly's home in Southmoor.

The funeral will be conducted by the vicar Rev Roy Woodhams, just days after top judge Lord Hutton holds a preliminary meeting of the inquiry into the 59-year-old scientist's death.

Dr Kelly's family wish the funeral to be a dignified and private affair but recognise the event will generate media interestThames Valley Police spokesman

The service is likely to feature elements of the Baha'i religion, which Dr Kelly converted to four years ago.

The faith has five million followers across 235 countries and territories, with around 6,000 in the UK.

They believe that "the earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens" but do not condone suicide.


Dr Kelly's body was found in woods at Harrowdown Hill, Longworth, two weeks ago.

Coroner Nicholas Gardiner said the father-of-three died from an "incised wound" to the left wrist.

An inquest into his death was opened and adjourned on 21 July at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court.

The Oxfordshire countryside where Dr Kelly lived and died

Mr Gardiner released Dr Kelly's body to his family last Friday but refused to reveal the results of toxicology tests until a full inquest.

Dr Kelly's death came after speculation - later confirmed by the BBC - that he was the source of stories that raised concerns over the way the government presented its case for war with Iraq.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: "Dr Kelly's family wish the funeral to be a dignified and private affair but recognise the event will generate media interest.

"For those reasons, the family has asked that media attendance is limited and in order to facilitate this a pooled facility will be made available."

The spokesman said a Sky News cameraman and a Press Association reporter and photographer will be allowed "to cover certain aspects of the funeral".

"Their coverage will be then be made available to all other media," he said.

"Thames Valley Police would ask the media to respect the wishes of the family and not to try and attend the funeral or obtain shots of the family on their journey to and from St Mary's Church whether from the roadside or from the air."

Hutton Inquiry

The preliminary meeting of the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death will take place at 1100 BST on Friday at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.

It will be televised, but future hearings are expected not to be broadcast.

Lord Hutton will state how he intends to conduct the inquiry and hear applications from interested parties to have legal representation.

The inquiry will then adjourn until after Dr Kelly's funeral.


The constitutional affairs department said in a statement on Monday: "Lord Hutton had originally intended not to commence sitting until after Dr Kelly's funeral.

"However, as the funeral will not take place for some time, Mrs Kelly has told Lord Hutton that she would have no objection to a preliminary sitting of the inquiry before the funeral."

After his death, Dr Kelly was named by the BBC as the source for reports claiming the government "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons.

Most of the inquiry's sessions will be open to the public and media - except for those where Dr Kelly's family are being questioned.

Transcripts of all witness evidence will be released "almost immediately", officials have said.


Last week, the MoD denied it had threatened the scientist with action under the Official Secrets Act or the loss of his pension.

Mr Kelly had told his employer he had briefed BBC journalists.

But a strongly-worded MoD statement dismissed "inaccurate media speculation" about his treatment.

After his identity was made public, Dr Kelly told the foreign affairs committee he did not think he had been the BBC's main source.

Mr Blair's director of communications Alastair Campbell has come under increasing scrutiny for his role in preparing the Iraq dossier.

©Copyright 2003, BBC (UK)

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