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Kelly suffered coronary artery disease
Friday August 1, 2003
David Kelly, the government scientist at the centre of the row between the government and the BBC, was suffering from coronary artery disease at the time of his death, the law lord investigating the circumstances of his apparent suicide revealed today.
The disease may have hastened his death but would not have played a major part in cause of death, according to a home office pathologist quoted by Lord Hutton in his introduction to his inquiry.
Lord Hutton read from an account of the postmortem examination conducted by the pathologist, Nicholas Hunt, the day after Dr Kelly died.
Dr Hunt also described how four electro-cardiogram electrode pads were found on Dr Kelly's chest, two on the upper torso and two in the lower chest area.
Dr Kelly had also taken off his watch and glasses before his death in an Oxfordshire wood two weeks ago, it was revealed.
"The removal of the watch in this way and the removal of spectacles are features pointing to this being an act of self-harm," the pathologist wrote.
Dr Hunt believed the main cause of Dr Kelly's death was bleeding from an incision on his left wrist, Lord Hutton said.
Lord Hutton said the coroner had sent him the postmortem account as well as a toxicology report undertaken on Dr Kelly's body.
The reports will form part of the evidence to be considered by Lord Hutton's inquiry, which will start on August 11.
Details of a letter written by Dr David Kelly just three weeks before his death were confirmed for the first time today as the inquiry into his suicide was opened.
The letter, dated June 30, was sent to his "line manager" in the Ministry of Defence and confirmed that he had met BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan in London on May 22.
He said the pair spoke for 45 minutes during the evening to "privately discuss his Iraq experiences and definitely not to discuss the dossier".
Dr Kelly wrote: "I did not even consider that I was the source of Gilligan's information until a friend in RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) said that I should look at the oral evidence provided to the foreign affairs committee on June 19 because she recognised that some of the comments were the sort I would make about Iraq's chemical and biological capacity.
"The description of that meeting in small part matches my interaction with him, especially my personal evaluation of Iraq's capability, but the overall character is quite different.
"I can only conclude one of three things. Gilligan has considerably embellished my meeting with him; he has met with other individuals who truly were intimately associated with the dossier; or he has assembled comments from both multiple, direct and indirect sources for his articles."
It is believed the letter was written to the head of the MoD proliferation and arms control secretariat.
Lord Hutton did not reveal any other extracts from the letter but said he had been provided with a large quantity of material by the government which showed that after Dr Kelly's letter, detailed discussions took place between officials and ministers in the ministry of defence and in other governmental departments.
"I intend to hear detailed evidence in relation to those discussions," Lord Hutton said.
He revealed that "in addition, on July 4 and July 7, Dr Kelly was interviewed by the personnel director of the Ministry of Defence and by his line manager".
Both the head of the MoD proliferation and arms control defence and the personnel director of the MoD, Richard Hatfield, are expected to be called as part of Lord Hutton's efforts to establish how Dr Kelly's name came to be known by the press.
He will also interview journalists from the three newspapers - the Times, the Guardian and the Financial Times - who put Dr Kelly's names to the MoD press office for confirmation about his identity.
Lord Hutton said: "It is clearly important that I and the public should have a very much more detailed and fuller picture of the facts than the outline I have just given.
"Therefore the first task in this inquiry will be to flesh out that outline. This will be done at the next stage of the inquiry."
Lord Hutton continued: "The press will be able to report to the public everything that takes place."
Transcripts of the day's hearings would be posted on a website, he said.
Before rising for a short break, Lord Hutton said: "I have also decided that this opening statement by me will be televised and the addresses of counsel will be televised.
"I will hear an application later this morning as to whether witnesses giving evidence will be televised."
He said he proposed to sit again on Monday, August 11.