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Witness's last sighting of Dr Kelly

Sep 2 2003

One of the last people to see Dr David Kelly alive, his elderly neighbour, began giving evidence at the Hutton Inquiry.

Ruth Absalom was to give another insight, via video link, into the final moments of the Government scientist, whom she met as he took a walk on July 17 from which he would not return.

She was one of a series of witnesses who were expected to give a picture of Dr Kelly's state of mind before he apparently took his own life.

The doctor's GP, an expert on suicide and a leader of the Baha'i faith, of which Dr Kelly was a recent convert, were due to follow Miss Absalom to give evidence at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Police and dog handlers involved in the search for Dr Kelly's body were also to assist Lord Hutton.

After the high political drama of recent weeks, today's hearing was expected to reflect a more traditional inquest as Lord Hutton tried to piece together the weapons expert's final movements.

Yesterday the inquiry heard poignant evidence from those who knew Dr Kelly best - his widow Janice, daughter Rachel and sister Sarah Pape.

Mrs Kelly told a packed court 73 that her husband felt "totally let down and betrayed" by the Ministry of Defence for allowing his name to be made public.

The inquiry was due to learn more about what was going through Dr Kelly's mind at the end.

Giving evidence were Barney Leith, a personal friend and secretary of the UK National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is, Professor Keith Hawton, director of the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University's department of psychiatry, and Dr Kelly's GP, Dr Malcolm Warner.

©Copyright 2003, ic Teesside (UK)

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