Mon, Jul 21, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Scientist's family lays blame for death

THE OBSERVER AND REUTERS , LONDON

The grieving family of David Kelly, the British government scientist who committed suicide last week, on Saturday appeared to lay the blame for the events leading up to his death on both the UK government and the BBC, which confirmed yesterday that he was the source for its claim that the government exaggerated intelligence about Iraqi weapons to justify war.

In their first public comments shortly after formally identifying the body of Kelly, 59, the family issued a statement saying that the actions of all parties involved in the affair had driven him to suicide.

"Events over recent weeks made David's life intolerable and all those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact," the statement said.

The family said they were "utterly devastated and heartbroken" by the death of "our husband, father and brother."

The family -- Kelly is survived by his wife Janice and three daughters -- issued the statement hours after Superintendent David Purnell of Thames Valley police stood outside Wantage police station and said the scientist killed himself by cutting a wrist with a knife, possibly after taking powerful painkillers.

Purnell confirmed that the body found in woodland 3km from the village of Southmoor on Friday morning was that of Kelly, who was suspected of being the BBC's mole in the row over the threat posed by Iraq.

Purnell said that a knife and an open packet of Coproxamol tablets, a paracetamol-based painkiller, had been recovered at the scene.

Details from the post-mortem examination, completed yesterday morning after identification of the body at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital by his wife, Janice, ended the mystery over how, if not why, the microbiologist died.

Purnell stressed there was "no indication any other party was involved," although investigations were continuing.

Kelly killed himself 24 hours after being called to give evidence in private to the the Intelligence and Security Committee at Westminster last Wednesday.

He left home last Thursday, having told his wife he was going for a walk. He was wearing only a shirt and jeans and it appears likely that he took the knife and pills from the house.

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