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Grieving family lays Dr David Kelly to rest

Dr Kelly's family follow the coffin into the village church

Members of Dr David Kelly's family followed the weapons expert's coffin into a village chapel for his funeral today.

The six pallbearers went into St Mary's Church in Longworth, Oxfordshire, ahead of the scientist's widow Janice and three daughters.

Around 160 mourners including Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Lord Hutton, who is leading the inquiry into Dr Kelly's apparent suicide, had arrived earlier.

Dr Kelly's coffin, decked with a wreath of white flowers and a blue cushion wrapped in a red ribbon, arrived at the church in a hearse about eight minutes before the start of the service at 2pm.

A lone mourning bell tolled as it was brought up the path to the church, followed by Mrs Kelly, her eldest daughter Sian, 32 and the couple's twin daughters Ellen and Rachel, 30.

The vicar of St Mary's, the Rev Roy Woodhams, said the pallbearers were all family members although they were not "blood relations".

The cortege, led by a single undertaker, consisted of a hearse carrying Dr Kelly's coffin and two Daimler limousines.

Mrs Kelly, who was wearing a black hat, was helped from the car by her daughters, who all wore black suits and were bareheaded.

The family were greeted with handshakes by Mr Woodhams.

They then watched as the coffin was borne up the path, past the flagpole in the churchyard with the Union Flag flying at half mast.

Around 40 wreaths were laid to the right of the pathway near the church gate with message cards from well-wishers.

A number of villagers who were not invited to the funeral stood outside the church porch in the blazing sunshine, holding Order of Service sheets as the church organ played.

Dr Kelly's family were determined to keep the service as private as possible and asked for media access to be restricted. The Order of Service and the text of the vicar's sermon were not expected to be released. Outside there was one photographer, one reporter and a camera crew to operating a pooled facility.

The entire village of Longworth was sealed off by police as well as the road outside Dr Kelly's house in the village of Southmoor, around two miles away.

Following the funeral, Dr Kelly was being laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary's, in the shadow of the north side of the 13th century building.

Visible just over a mile away is Harrowdown Hill, where Dr Kelly's body was found with his left wrist slashed and an open packet of painkillers by his side.

The service was expected to feature elements of the Baha'i religion, to which Dr Kelly converted four years ago while working in the US.

His family were said to have chosen Baha'i prayers from a selection made by followers at his local Baha'i centre in Abbingdon, Oxfordshire.

The body of Dr Kelly, 59, was found on July 18 after he was named as the "mole" for a BBC report that the Government had "sexed up" its Iraq dossier.

©Copyright 2003, This is local London (UK)

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