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Dr Kelly: 'Felt disgraced'


Dr David Kelly almost certainly killed himself because he felt publicly disgraced, the country's leading suicide expert has told the Hutton Inquiry.

Professor Keith Hawton said Dr Kelly would have felt a "profound sense of hopelessness" after being exposed in the media and publicly grilled by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

Asked what factors he believed had contributed to Dr Kelly's suicide, Prof Hawton said: "As far as one can deduce, the major factor was the severe loss of self-esteem, resulting from his feeling that people had lost trust in him and from his dismay at being exposed to the media.

"He talked a lot about it and I think being such a private man, I think this was an anathema to him to be exposed publicly in this way and in a sense he would have seen it as being publicly disgraced."

No Struggle

Earlier on Tuesday, a volunteer search and rescue team member told how she and her dog found the body of Dr Kelly slumped against a tree in woods near his home.

Louise Holmes told the Hutton Inquiry 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."

"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."

Pc Dean Andrew Franklin arrived at the scene and found a four inch 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.


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.

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 Baha'i 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.
Last Updated: 23:44 UK, Tuesday September 02, 2003

©Copyright 2003, The SKY News (UK)

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