David Kelly’s mysterious death should be investigated by a coroner to establish whether the weapons inspector was murdered, the Government has been told.
The demand was made in a letter to Attorney General Baroness Scotland following revelations in The Mail on Sunday that question the Hutton Inquiry’s finding of suicide.
After 59-year-old Dr Kelly’s body was discovered in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003, a coroner’s inquiry into his death was controversially halted by the Government.
Lord Hutton took over the investigation and concluded the scientist slashed his left wrist and took an overdose of painkillers after being named as the source of a BBC report on the Iraq war.
But after the weapons inspector’s close friend Mai Pederson cast doubt in this newspaper last week on his ability to kill himself – she says his right hand was so weak following an accident that he would have been unable to cut himself fatally – Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker has written to the Attorney General demanding a coroner’s inquest.
Mr Baker, who has written a book on Mr Kelly, believes he was murdered by supporters of the war, with exiled Iraqi dissidents heading his list of suspects.
In his letter to Baroness Scotland, Mr Baker argues that Lord Hutton’s finding of suicide would not have been endorsed by a coroner’s court because it could not be proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Since the Hutton report was published it has also been revealed that there were no fingerprints on the knife Dr Kelly is supposed to have used.
Also, he suffered from a disorder that made it hard for him to swallow pills – and when a heat-seeking search aircraft flew over the spot where his corpse was found shortly after his supposed time of death it did not pick up any sign of a body.
Some experts suggest he was killed elsewhere.
Ms Pederson, an American military linguist, has also revealed that Dr Kelly told her that he was on an Iraqi hit list and if Britain invaded the country ‘he would be found dead in the woods’.
Mr Baker writes: ‘Lord Hutton appeared to have decided that Dr Kelly had committed suicide before his inquiry had even begun, and limited the evidence given accordingly.
‘I argue, therefore, that it is clear beyond doubt that there was an insufficiency of inquiry, as a result of both the nature of the inquiry itself, but more particularly by the way Lord Hutton interpreted his role.
‘There is much more that has been uncovered, which taken together suggests very strongly that Lord Hutton’s conclusions are unsafe, and that justice demands that there be a proper inquest.’