SCIENTIST'S LAST MOMENTS
A volunteer search and rescue team member has told how she and her dog found the body of Dr David Kelly slumped against a tree in woods near his home.
Louise Holmes told the Hutton Inquiry how she was about 200 yards into the woods when her specially trained dog picked up a scent and indicated he had found something at the bottom of a tree.
She said: "I could see a body slumped against the bottom of a tree."
Miss Holmes continued: "He was at the base of the tree with almost his head on his shoulders, just slumped back against the tree.
"His legs were straight in front of him, his right arm was to the side of him, his left arm had a lot of blood on it and was bent back in a funny position," she said.
Pc Dean Andrew Franklin arrived at the scene and found a 4in bloody knife near Dr Kelly's body.
The area "was remarkable for its complete lack of human interference" and there was no signs of a struggle, he said.
A wristwatch, a bottle of water, a knife and tablets were taken from the scene.
Earlier, Dr Kelly's GP told the inquiry that his patient had never shown any signs of depression - but he had not seen him for four years.
Dr Malcolm Warner added that he had not prescribed medication to the Gorvernment scientist since 1994.
An expert on suicide, Professor Keith Hawton, told the inquiry he did not believe Dr Kelly was suffering from depression.
Prof Hawton said factors that contributed to Dr Kelly's suicide included severe loss of self-esteem and dismay at being exposed to the media.
"He would have seen it as being publicly disgraced," the mental health expert said.
Dr Kelly may have feared losing his job, which would have "filled him with a profound sense of hopelessness".
Speaking about Dr Kelly's appearance at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Professor Hawton said it was obviously a "very stressful experience for him".
Prof Hawton said Dr Kelly still seemed optimistic about the future the day before he disappeared and it was unlikely he was planning to commit suicide.
Dr Kelly's elderly neighbour Ruth Absalom told the inquiry how she saw the former weapons inspector as he walked on the day of his death and they had a "brief chat" and when she asked how he was, he replied: "Not too bad."
The neighbour said Dr Kelly seemed his normal self and Prof Hawton later told how this behaviour would be consistent with the notion that he had made the decision to kill himself before going on the walk.
Prof Hawton explained: "It's having, in a sense, decided on how to deal with the problem that leads to a sort of peace and calm."
Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Webb was given the job of speaking to the Kelly family at their home early on the morning of July 18 on the day the body was discovered.
Det Sgt Webb told the inquiry: "The Kelly family were very upbeat at that time. They were very hopeful that no harm had come to Dr Kelly and genuinely believed that perhaps he had become ill somewhere."
After news that Dr Kelly's body had been found, Det Sgt Webb informed the family and they carried out a "very cursory search" of Dr Kelly's study.
There, he found a sealed envelope dated July 9, 2003. It was addressed to Dr Kelly from Richard Hatfield and headed "Discussions with the Media".
He also found a list of journalists' names and a letter from Dr Kelly to his line manager headed "Andrew Gilligan and His Single Anonymous Source".
The inquiry also heard from Barney Leith, who is secretary of the national spiritual assembly of Bahai's in the UK.
Dr Kelly was a member of the Bahai faith, which condemnes suicide as the "undue curtailment of life", which should be lived to the full.
Mr Leith said Dr Kelly never spoke about his work at spiritual meetings. "He was extremely discreet," he said.
He told how Dr Kelly once organised a talked on his work as a UN inspector but he did not mention the September dossier.
©Copyright 2003, SKY News (UK)
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