Hutton Inquiry: Day 12
13.26PM BST, 1 Sep 2003
Janice Kelly, 58, is speaking via an audio link to the courtroom. Her daughter Rachel, 30, is also due to give evidence.
It is the first time Mrs Kelly has broken her silence since a brief statement speaking of the "intolerable" pressures placed on her husband.
Mrs Kelly described how she married Dr Kelly in 1967 after meeting while he was studying at Leeds University and she was at training college.
They both studied later at Birmingham University before he went on to study at Oxford.
Mrs Kelly said that towards the end of the 1980s - about 1987 - her husband was involved in some work in Russia where he seemed to establish a quite good reputation and was asked back several times.
In Russia he interrogated a defector but his work was mainly weapons monitoring. He was away for anything up to three weeks. Dr Kelly had described it as very exciting work.
Mrs Kelly said: "He became extremely dedicated to his work. He became a workaholic. He really did get involved in that."
She said that after his work in Russia, he was asked to get involved in the UN weapon monitoring commission, Unscom.
After the Gulf War he went to Iraq nearly 40 times. Mrs Kelly said her husband was well used to briefing journalists and that she heard him speaking on the phone from home.
The weapons expert's widow said he felt there was unfinished business in Iraq after the Unscom inspectors were thrown out of the country.
"He felt that his job there wasn't finished. That Iraq did indeed have plenty of weapons ... it was quite a frustrating time, I think, after 1998 when they were effectively thrown out of Iraq," she said.
Mrs Kelly told the inquiry they had found a document dated May 2003 in her husband's filing cabinet "a couple of weeks or so ago".
The document related to people to be put on the New Year's Honours List for 2004 and scribbled in the top right-hand corner was: "How about David Kelly? Iraq is topical."
Mrs Kelly said that her husband did not discuss the document and that it was headed Confidential. Mrs Kelly said that her husband's travel plans frequently changed.
She then went on to describe a particular evening that left her worried. "He suddenly got up from his chair, having been quite withdrawn and worried looking.
"He went upstairs to get dressed, to change his clothes, and came down rather smarter than he would normally be at home and rather smarter than if he was just popping down to the local for a game of cribbage.
"He told me he was going to walk to the Hind's Head. He seemed very preoccupied and that would have been just before that letter was sent."
Mrs Kelly then said he returned around half an hour to 40 minutes later and she said to him that he seemed to have been quick.
She added: "He told me 'I went for a walk instead to think something through'.
Mrs Kelly said she had the feeling that he was not enjoying his work so much. "He was more withdrawn, more driven."
Mrs Kelly said her husband returned home at about 7pm on July 8 and seemed "quiet". She said they had a meal and went to watch the news on television but had not yet discussed how his day had gone.
"He seemed a little bit reluctant to come and watch the news. The main story was that a source had identified itself and then immediately David said to me 'It's me'."
Mrs Kelly said she thought she and her husband were watching Channel 4 News when he made his revelation.
She said: "My reaction was total dismay, my heart sank and I was terribly worried because the fact that he said that to me ... I knew that he was aware that his name would be in the public domain quite soon."
She said her husband had seemed "desperately unhappy about it, really really unhappy, totally dismayed".
He had felt "totally let down and betrayed" by the MoD after it released his name to reporters, Mrs Kelly said.
Asked about the television footage of her husband's evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), Mrs Kelly said: "He looked very uncomfortable, very hot, very stressed."
Asked what he had told her about the experience, she said: "Very little, he felt that he had not done good justice to himself.
"He felt they had been, I think it was Andrew MacKinlay's comment, he had misunderstood it initially and felt it was an insult."
She said her husband was in "a nightmare position". He had stayed at his daughter Rachel's house on July 15 before appearing before the Intelligence Security Committee.
She said: "He looked totally exhausted. He was able to converse a little but it was very, very strained, I felt he was very tired, he was used up."
She added: "He only said it had gone all right and that was not a phrase he would usually use. He was obviously very stressed."
Mrs Kelly said they did not speak much about the FAC, adding: "He was very tense and very, very tired."
"He never seemed depressed in all of this but was very tired and subdued."
Mrs Kelly said her husband went back into his study to prepare the report for the MoD and was in there for most of the morning.
Mrs Kelly said she went out for a while to collect some photographs and when she returned, she showed them to him to try to lighten the mood.
She said her husband told her he had not finished yet but a few moments later went and sat in the sitting room without saying anything. "That was quite unusual for him," she said.
When asked what he was like, Mrs Kelly said: "He just seemed and looked really very tired and I had started with a huge headache ... I was physically sick several times because he looked so desperate."
She said they had lunch but her husband looked "distracted and dejected". "He had shrunk into himself but I had no idea of what he might do later."
Mrs Kelly said: "He couldn't put two sentences together, he couldn't talk at all."
She spoke about the events leading up to when Dr Kelly had gone missing.
Mrs Kelly described the usual routine in the house, that she would often go for a lie-down after lunch to help her arthritis, while her husband would usually go for a walk to help his bad back.
She told the inquiry: "I said to him: 'What are you going to do?' and he said 'I will probably go for my walk'."
Mrs Kelly said she went upstairs at 1.30pm to 1.45pm and that her husband had gone into his study.
She said: "Shortly after I had lain down, he came to ask me if I was OK and I said 'Yes, I will be fine'."
He went to change his clothes for his walk and she assumed he had left the house, but he picked up the phone when it rang later.
Mrs Kelly said she had gone downstairs to answer it in case it was important but heard him speaking quietly in his study.
She told the inquiry: "I said something like 'Oh, I thought you had gone out for your walk'.
"He didn't respond, of course, because he was on the phone."
She said that was at about 3pm and that she had assumed the phone call was from the MoD. Mrs Kelly said that her husband had gone out for his walk by 3.20pm. "I was still feeling extremely ill."
She said she went and switched on the television, a thing unheard of at that time of day.
A couple of callers came to the front door and she had a short chat with both of them.
"I began to get rather worried."
She said it was a family tradition for members of the family to indicate if they were going for a longer than usual walk, which normally took 15-25 minutes.
Mrs Kelly said Rachel rang and said "Don't worry, maybe he's gone out for a quiet think'."
Rachel made a decision to come over and see her parents and she arrived between 5.30pm and 6pm.
Mrs Kelly said: "She said 'I will go and walk up and meet Dad'." Mrs Kelly described her anguish the night her husband went missing.
"I was in a terrible state myself at this time, trying not to think awful things and trying to take each moment as it came."
She said her daughter Sian then phoned and said she was coming round before beginning a search of the area's churches and bus shelters with her partner.
The family had delayed calling the police until 11.40pm, not wanting to make the situation worse, she said.
Mrs Kelly said the police were told of her husband's position and "it seemed to immediately go up to chief constable level".
A helicopter and tracker dogs were sent out looking for Dr Kelly and she remained in contact with the police "all night", she said.
Dogs were used to search the house to make sure the weapons expert was not still inside and police communications masts were set up in the garden.
She said that she was told on July 18 that a body had been found and that police had also found a knife that Dr Kelly had owned since childhood.
"We were shown a photocopy of a knife which we recognised he had had for many years. "It was a knife he had had, what, from childhood I think, probably from the Boy Scouts," she said.
Mrs Kelly said she had concluded that the Co-proxamol drug found with her husband's body had probably been taken from the supply she kept for her arthritis. Mrs Kelly said she kept the Co-proxamol in her kitchen drawer and her bedside table and that she assumed that was where her husband got it.
Asked if she had any other evidence for the inquiry, she replied: "No, except that he was totally devoted to his job. It was rather muddly in the sense that he seemed to work between lots of places but that suited his style in a way, he liked to interact between lots of people."
Asked about newspaper reports that she and her husband had rowed shortly before his death she said: "Absolutely not, we did not row. If we had a disagreement, we agreed to disagree.
"There was absolutely no row whatsoever."
Mrs Kelly added that she had been in "no physical state" to have had a row with anyone. Mr Dingemans asked how the family reacted to the reports about Dr Kelly being a "Walter Mitty" type character.
Mrs Kelly said: "I was devastated. That was totally the opposite.
"He was a very modest, shy, retiring man ... very courteous, very laidback if you like, but he kept to his brief. He did not boast at all. He was very factual and that is what he felt his job was to be, very factual."
Asked if there was anything else she wanted to add, Mrs Kelly said: "Lord Hutton, on behalf of my family, I would like to thank you and your counsel for the dignified way in which you are carrying out this inquiry into my husband's death.
"We would also like to acknowledge the support our family has received from so many people all over the country and elsewhere."
Mrs Kelly also asked if she could take the opportunity to again urge the media to respect their privacy.
She added: "We are a very private family."
Mrs Kelly then completed her evidence after around an hour and 10 minutes.
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