Sunday, July 18, 2010

New call for full inquest



Sunday July 18,2010

By James Murray

A FORMER pathologist today ­demands a full inquest into the death of nuclear weapons expert Dr David Kelly as the Sunday Express discloses fresh details of the mysterious theft of his dental records.

As the family of Dr Kelly privately marked the seventh anniversary of his death yesterday, Dr Peter Fletcher urged Prime Minister David Cameron to order an inquest because the circumstances surrounding this tragic episode “stink”.

Lord Hutton has controversially ruled that 59-year-old whistleblower Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting the small ulnar artery on his left wrist when under severe pressure over the leaking of information to BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan about Iraq’s ability to use weapons of mass destruction.

His body was found during a huge police search in woodland at ­Harrowdown Hill a few miles from his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire, on July 18, 2003.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday ­Express, Dr Fletcher, a highly ­respected retired pathologist and former chief scientific officer at the Department of Health, said: ‘‘From all the considerable reports I have read, Dr Kelly did not lose enough blood to cause his death.

“He would have had to lose three to four pints of blood but all the known evidence shows there was only a small amount at the scene. I don’t believe a coroner would determine he died of haemorrhage based on the ­evidence.”

Although an inquest was opened and a coroner assigned, it was decided that Lord Hutton himself would have the power to determine cause of death and that his public inquiry would ­effectively act as an inquest.

Dr Fletcher said: “With respect, Lord Hutton is not a coroner and there are many areas in the medical ­evidence which need to be analysed carefully by an actual coroner.

“There are so many unanswered questions that this Government should make it a priority to hold a proper and full inquest with people giving evidence on oath.”

Dr Fletcher said any new inquest should focus on a strange episode at Dr Kelly’s dentist. A woman dentist from the practice called the police into the room after his body was found to say his notes were missing from the filing cabinet.

Thames Valley Police Assistant Chief Constable Michael Page gave basic details of the incident, which were not reported.

Mr Page reported to Lord Hutton: “We carried out a full examination of the surgery and in particular one ­window which the dentist was ­concerned may not have been secure.

“We had another call from the ­dentist to say that the dental records had re-appeared on the Sunday in the place in the filing cabinet where they should have been.”

Speaking from his home in ­Halstead, Essex, Dr Fletcher said: “This was a very funny episode which any new coroner should go into in great detail.

“Quite clearly his dental records were removed around the time of his death and then put back later. Who took them and why were they taken? The police obviously took this ­seriously but they did not get to the bottom of what had actually occurred.”

When police chief Mr Page gave his evidence to Lord Hutton he said he still had inquiries to complete and only that he was “reasonably satisfied” that there was no third party ­involvement or “criminal dimension” to Dr Kelly’s death.

New Attorney General Dominic Grieve recently received a letter from a female colleague of Dr Kelly, Mai Pedersen, a US Air Force officer who served with his UN weapons inspection team in Iraq.

She wrote to Mr Grieve saying that he had difficulty swallowing pills, which puts a huge question mark over claims that he had swallowed 29 painkillers before cutting his left wrist.

She also said that because he had a painful elbow injury he was unable to use his right hand for basic tasks, including cutting steaks, yet somehow he was able to cut his left wrist.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daily Mail - Dr Kelly 'not a matter' for Chilcot Inquiry

Chilcot: Ask for an inquest into Dr Kelly's death

By Ian Drury

Last updated at 1:18 AM on 13th July 2010

The head of the Iraq war inquiry last night cleared the way for a full inquest into the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly.

Sir John Chilcot said the Government scientist's apparent suicide in July 2003 was 'not a matter' for his five-man panel to investigate.

But he invited campaigners who believe Dr Kelly was murdered to formally request that Attorney General Dominic Grieve orders an inquest.

Sir John's spokesman said: 'The inquiry has no statutory powers, and the committee is not appropriately qualified to decide on medical matters.

'The committee's conclusion is, therefore, that the proper route would be an application to the Attorney General.'

Dr Kelly, 59, killed himself after being outed by the Labour Government as the source of a BBC story claiming that Downing Street was responsible for 'sexing up' a dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Despite pressure from medical experts, the Iraq Inquiry into the run-up and aftermath of the war has decided not to investigate Dr Kelly's death.

Sir John's spokesman said: 'The committee has reached the concluded view that the death of Dr Kelly is not a matter it should consider.

'The ambit of the inquiry is the identification of lessons to be learned for the future from the Iraq conflict.

'The inquiry has no statutory powers, and the committee is not appropriately qualified to decide on medical matters.

'The committee's conclusion is, therefore, that the proper route would be an application to the Attorney General for his fiat [approval] to apply to the High Court.'

An inquiry led by Lord Hutton concluded that the scientist committed suicide in woodland near his Oxfordshire home by severing an artery in his left wrist after overdosing on painkillers.

But campaigning doctors say the artery Dr Kelly severed is too small and difficult to access and cutting it could not have caused death.

And dramatic new testimony from one of Dr Kelly's colleagues, U.S. weapons inspector Mai Pedersen, claimed that an elbow injury meant that the scientist's right arm was so weak he 'had difficulty cutting steak' let alone his own wrist.

Meanwhile, the Chilcot Inquiry was told that Tony Blair's government 'intentionally and substantially' exaggerated the threat from Saddam Hussein ahead of the war in Iraq.

Ex-UK diplomat Carne Ross accused ministers of 'blatent dishonesty' and 'lying' to the public about the dictator's capacity to launch WMD to justify the invasion.

He said that it was a 'disgrace' that ministers failed to exhaust all peaceful options before going to war against Iraq in 2003.

Mr Carne, who served at the UN between 1997 and 2002, claimed that British and the U.S. were fully aware that there was no 'substantial threat' from Iraq ahead of the war.

He said the notorious claim in the 'dodgy dossier' of September 2002 that implied Saddam had the capacity to launch WMD within 45 minutes, had 'no basis in firm intelligence'.

'This process of exaggeration was gradual, and proceeded by accretion and editing from document to document, in a way that allowed those participating to convince themselves that they were not engaged in blatant dishonesty,' he said.

'But this process led to highly misleading statements about the UK assessment of the Iraqi threat that were, in their totality, lies.'

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mai in the Mail

'Why I'm certain my friend Dr Kelly was murdered'

By Andrew Malone

Last updated at 8:18 PM on 10th July 2010

They used to walk the streets of Baghdad together after dark.

She liked to clear her head after the tensions of the day; he wanted to compensate for the missed strolls he normally took in the Oxfordshire countryside near his home.

But these nightly outings for David Kelly, the ill-fated weapons expert, and Mai Pederson, his beautiful young U.S. military interpreter, also provided an intriguing insight into how perilous the British scientist's position had become.

A senior member of a United Nations inspection team in Iraq, Kelly's mission was to discover whether Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction - and to determine whether America and Britain would go to war.

The stakes could not have been higher.

To help him deal with obfuscating Iraqi officials, he was assigned Pederson, a gifted linguist with the U.S. Air Force who also had secret, high-level links to American intelligence.

Beguiled by his mysterious younger colleague, Kelly asked if he could walk with Pederson at night.

And so an unlikely relationship blossomed on the dark streets of Baghdad.

That friendship deepened when, one night in 1998, five years before the U.S. and Britain invaded, the pair shared a life-or-death experience on a stroll around the Iraqi capital.

Suddenly, a red laser dot appeared on the British scientist's clothes over his heart: an unseen sniper had him in his sights.

The laser beam moved slowly upwards until it was trained on the centre of Kelly's forehead.

Amid unbearable tension, the red dot remained there for what seemed like an age.

The sniper didn't pull the trigger - it was simply a warning. Iraqi officials brushed off the incident, sniggering that it was just 'kids playing around'.

But Kelly knew his life was in grave danger, informing his younger companion that he had been told by intelligence sources that he was number three on a Saddam Hussein death list as a result of his work.

Shrugging off the risks, he told Pederson he couldn't abandon his mission, but that he expected to be found dead in the woods near his home in Oxfordshire, rather than in Iraq.

It was a claim he repeated to other close friends. It turned out to be a chillingly accurate prediction.

Memories of those tense, heady days and nights came flooding back for Mai Pederson this week as the seventh anniversary of the death of David Kelly, her close friend and confidante, approaches on July 17.

It is a tragedy which continues to be cloaked in controversy.

'We started out as work colleagues and he became like an older brother to me,' she told me when we met this week in America.

'He was a man of impeccable integrity, honour, dignity and respect. His family meant everything to him, as did his work.

'It is time the facts came out.'

Pederson hasn't met with Kelly's wife since his death, but Mrs Kelly did testify to the Hutton inquiry that Pederson was 'influential' in his life and had become a family friend.

Kelly, as is now well-known, was found dead in the woods near his home in July 2003, having supposedly used a blunt knife he'd had since he was a boy to hack into a tiny, deep vein and bleed to death - even though little blood was found at the scene.

Despite leaving no note for his wife or his beloved daughter, who was due to get married three months later, the government's Hutton Inquiry into his death concluded in 2004 that Kelly committed suicide after being named as the source of a BBC report suggesting that Tony Blair's spokesman 'sexed up' intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction in order to justify going to war against Iraq.

After repeated calls for a full inquest into Kelly's death, the Labour government instead decided that official papers about the affair should be kept secret for an unprecedented 70 years - and, even more bizarrely, the reason for that decision is itself a state secret.

But now, amid signals that the new British coalition government may re-examine this utterly perplexing case, Kelly's former translator - and spiritual soul-mate - has come forward to give the saga a dramatic, compelling new twist.

In damning evidence to the new attorney general, Dominic Grieve, who has indicated his 'concerns' about the case, Pederson revealed that Kelly could not have killed himself by hacking into his wrist - because he could only move his arm with difficulty due to an old injury.

'He couldn't even cut a steak,' says Pederson, holding her own arm out stiffly to mimic his disability.

'He hurt his elbow and was incredibly weak in that arm.'

She also rubbished claims he had taken 29 Co-Proxamol painkiller pills before cutting his wrists, saying he struggled to swallow pills.

For Kelly suffered from 'unexplained dysphagia' - a syndrome that can make it almost impossible to swallow pills, while food and other substances are ingested without a problem. This has been confirmed by other friends.

Pederson recalls offering him a pill for a headache which he refused, saying he couldn't swallow any pills and explaining he'd had the problem for years.

Speaking exclusively to the Mail, the twice-divorced Pederson - who is fluent in five languages - insisted that she was determined to honour the memory of a 'kind, brilliant man' by unearthing the truth about who really killed him, saying: 'This cries out for a formal, independent and complete review.

'If that means stirring the ashes, so be it.

'The death of David Kelly is not just about him or about the tragedy for his family - it affects all of us. The facts don't add up and the responses from the British government don't add up.'

More than anyone else - even, perhaps, including Janice, Dr Kelly's widow - Pederson knows the truth about Kelly's frame of mind at the time of his death, and, intriguingly, how he had even made plans for the future once the fuss over the BBC story had died down.

From the time in the late Nineties that they became acquainted, they made an unlikely pair. He, introverted and studious; she, Kuwaiti-born to Egyptian parents and vivacious.

According to an ex-husband, she was actually an American spy with eyes that could 'bewitch' any man.

After meeting in Iraq in 1998, right up to the day of Kelly's death, the pair spent as much of their time together as possible. When they were apart, they regularly kept in touch by phone and email.

Other staff on the UN weapons inspections team in Baghdad assumed the bearded, scruffy English scientist was as dull as he looked.

But after he started accompanying Pederson on her walks, she discovered a different side to Kelly.

While she listened in silence,she says, he chatted away animatedly about his wife and children and how he loved taking daily walks in the woods near his home. She found it distracting and relaxing.

Indeed, the pair became as close as it's possible to be without sharing a bed.

In the following years, Kelly made frequent trips to America to see her (he was often in the U.S. on UN business and for meetings with other top scientists).

He was also reputedly thinking about moving there permanently.

Between dozen of trips to Iraq on inspection tours, as Britain and America sought a legal case for war against Saddam, the pair met regularly at locations around the U.S from California to Alabama.

In a sign of just how deep their friendship went, Kelly was even officially registered as living at three houses Pederson owned in America.

This was, apparently, simply a favour to enable him to have US. credit cards with an American mailing address.

A devout agnostic, Kelly decided to convert without informing his wife ­ to the Baha'i faith, the ancient Persian religion of which Pederson was a follower.

He gave up alcohol and started attending Baha'i meetings.

Not surprisingly, colleagues whispered that the pair were having an affair.

Could it have been true? 'I did not have an affair with Dr Kelly,'Pederson says firmly.' His family meant everything to him. I'd met his wife and daughters.

'His work was his mistress.'

Now 49,with piercing brown eyes, Pederson says the British academic - who was 20 years older - was not her type and it would, in any case, have been a court martial offence under U.S. military regulations to have an affair with a married man.

Yet her decision to submit this new dossier of evidence to the British government has reignited the politically charged debate about whether Kelly was murdered.

Already she has been attacked by John Rentoul, official biographer of the former prime minister (and, ironically, a columnist for The Independent, which denounced the Hutton Inquiry), has branded publication of her claims as' contemptible'.

BBC journalist Tom Mangold, meanwhile, denounced Pederson as a conspiracy theorist who must 'believe in the tooth fairy' and demanded to know why she had taken so long to speak out.

Yet Pederson has tried to give evidence ­repeatedly.

In fact, less than a month after Kelly's death, she agreed to meet two British detectives who flew out from London to question her.

She spent two days telling them all she knew about the case ­and explaining why she believed the scientist could not possibly have committed suicide.

Yet, like many others in this saga of contradictory evidence and unanswered questions, her attempts to shed light on Kelly's physical ­ as well as mental ­ condition have been repeatedly rebuffed.

Indeed, two days after British police interviewed her and promised she would not be named on account of her sensitive work with the military her name was leaked to the then Labour supporting Times newspaper and she was portrayed as a shadowy Mata Hari figure.

While his family say Kelly was depressed, Pederson says he was nothing of the kind.

He had even phoned her at the height of the drama surrounding the row about the leaks to the BBC about the 'sexed-up' Iraq weapons dossier, cheerfully saying he was driving to a place in the West Country to escape the Press and that he would come out to see her in a couple of months.

Alarmed by the media attention after her identity was disclosed, Pederson moved in to Air Force accommodation to live in seclusion.

There, she privately offered to give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry on condition that her identity was disguised as it had been for British intelligence agents called to give evidence.

Hutton refused. More recently, frustrated by the lack of action over her evidence, her Washington lawyer Mark Zaid sent a letter last year to Baroness Scotland, the then Labour Attorney General.

Receipt of the letter was acknowledged in a single line reply from her office.

But, again, nothing happened.

Now, however, Pederson hopes someone will finally listen.

And yesterday she received a much more sympathetic response from the office of new Attorney General Dominic Grieve, advising her to speak to the group of doctors currently launching their own legal challenge to make all documents relating to his death public.

She does not, she insists, have a 'smoking gun' ­ evidence of who killed Kelly or why.

But she's convinced he was murdered.

'None of it makes sense anyone can see that,' she says.

The suggestion that Kelly could have been murdered by British government agents seems preposterous.

But did the Establishment have evidence that a 'hit' was planned against Kelly by Iraq and fail to act?

There have been repeated rumours that police were aware he had gone missing long before his family reported him overdue from his walk.

Or could Iraqi exiles have silenced him because his claims (about there being insufficient evidence of weapons build up to justify an invasion of their country) were at odds with their desire to see Saddam deposed?

In truth, Mai Pederson doesn't know the answers. But what she does know is that the official story has gaping holes.

She says: 'The more time that passes with the Government ignoring the contradictory evidence, the more conspiracy theories will grow ­and faith and trust in the Government will lessen.

Legitimate questions deserve answers.

'The British Government owes him, his family and the country the full truth,whatever that might be.

Dr Kelly can no longer speak, so we must do so for him.'

There is, of course, a way for the new government to try to put an end to the controversy ­ by seeking answers to the unanswered questions.

If there really is nothing to hide about the baffling death of Dr David Kelly, why, then, does so much remain hidden?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Columnists' notes

Richard Ingrams


Saturday, 3 July 2010


Then there is the suggestion that the new Attorney General, Dominic Grieve, may be minded – to use a bit of legal jargon – to reopen the inquest into the death of the weapons inspector Dr David Kelly. This follows a campaign by a group of doctors who forcefully reject the official verdict of suicide and draw attention to the highly suspicious order by the Lord High Whitewasher Hutton that the post-mortem report should not be made public for 70 years.


Peter Oborne

Last updated at 8:42 AM on 5th July 2010


Hutton should hang his head in shame

Even after this week’s devastating revelations in the Mail concerning the unexplained circumstances surrounding the death of the government scientist David Kelly, very few people would be prepared to stick their neck out and say that the conspiracy theorists are right and that Dr Kelly was murdered.

However, what can now be said with total confidence is that the Hutton inquiry report into the death of Dr Kelly was lamentably casual, amateur and inadequate.

Lord Hutton failed to ask a whole series of basic questions about Dr Kelly’s death, thus failing to notice a series of obvious points, such as the lack of blood found at the place of death and the fact that Dr Kelly’s fingerprints were not on the knife with which he is supposed to have killed himself.

Hutton’s report stank when it was published. Now it is beginning to look like a cover-up.


Sunday, July 04, 2010

Tom Mangold rejects murder theories

David Kelly murdered? Yes, and I bet you believe in the tooth fairy too

Investigative journalist Tom Mangold, a friend of the government scientist, takes aim at theories rejecting the verdict that the arms inspector committed suicide

Sunday, 4 July 2010

For the past 10 days, a new campaign suggesting that Dr David Kelly, the government scientist and weapons inspector who died nearly seven years ago this month, was murdered has been reaching fever pitch in one popular daily newspaper.

Officially, it was established that Kelly died by his own hand in an Oxfordshire wood: having first taken a large dose of the painkiller co-proxamol, he then slit his wrist with his garden pruning knife.

The Daily Mail and its Sunday companion, The Mail on Sunday, have produced "damning new evidence" of an alleged cover-up to hide a murder plot by persons unknown, for reasons unknown.

The "new evidence" now includes a statement last week from Mai Pedersen, Kelly's former US Air Force interpreter in Iraq, who was a close friend. After seven years, she has suddenly recalled that Kelly could not have cut his wrist because an elbow injury had left his arm too weak. She has also said that he could not have swallowed 29 tablets because he "had difficulty swallowing pills".

Further allegations include a claim that "a blanket of secrecy" was thrown over the case by the Labour government and that reports and medical records about the case have been classified for the next 70 years, bolstered by some apparently ambiguous wording on Kelly's death certificate.
I knew David rather well and I am firmly convinced not only that he committed suicide, but that those who believe in a cover-up have simply failed to produce a shred of primary-source evidence to support their claims.

I believe that David killed himself because he learned, a few hours before he took this fatal step, that lies he had told to investigating MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on 15 July would be exposed. He had, foolishly, denied having contact with the BBC Newsnight journalist Susan Watts. She had taped the interview (for record purposes only) and the BBC was about to reveal this.

I believe David learned of this impending disaster late in the morning of his death through a benign telephone call from a colleague at the Ministry of Defence. With that knowledge came an instant awareness that his honour and integrity would be besmirched and that he would not be allowed to return the following week to his beloved Baghdad.

To add to his nightmare, he had received a stiff warning from his personnel boss at the Ministry of Defence, Sir Richard Hatfield. Kelly had reassured his Whitehall bosses that he had not spoken widely to journalists. After this assurance, Sir Richard gave Kelly a direct warning, twice, that disciplinary action would be taken if facts came to light that "appeared to call into question the account and assurances you gave me". In other words, he was shown the yellow card.

The moment, I believe, that David learned of the existence of the Newsnight tape, his world collapsed. At the Hutton inquiry, Janice, his widow, recalled: "I just thought he had a broken heart; he had shrunk into himself." She has also privately subscribed to the notion that her husband had learned something dreadful late in the morning of his death.

I know, from several interviews conducted with close friends in the US, that David was in very good spirits early on the morning of his suicide. He was convinced he'd passed through the worst and would be returning to Baghdad within a week.

Those who have set their hearts on the "Kelly was murdered" theory have yet to identify: 1. Motive. 2 Perpetrators. 3.Opportunity. If these people are right, the following events must have happened on that fateful morning in 2003:

At least two people entered his house, unseen, in the small village where he lived and where every stranger is "clocked" as a stranger. The intruders then stole his garden pruning knife and his wife's co-proxamol tablets from the upstairs bathroom, still unseen. (If they came to kill him, how extraordinary that they didn't bother to bring their own instruments for the purpose.)

They then kidnapped Kelly and forced him out of the house while his wife was present. (As she was there all the time, how could she not have seen the intruders? And why would David not have shouted for help?)

While frog-marching him to the death site in the woods, the killers must have had to release him for a while, because he was seen alone by a friend on his way to the woods where he died. Indeed, both men exchanged brief pleasantries.

The killers then would have had to re-kidnap him and march him to the woods – still unseen, where they forced tablets down his throat and made him cut his own wrist. All this done without leaving a trace of forensic evidence on Kelly. (How does one force 29 tablets down a man's throat without leaving a mark of violence?)

The plot to cover up this murder (motive unknown) had to involve the local police, the local Special Branch, MI5 and MI6 (which were involved in the inquiries after his death: David was, after all, an intelligence officer) and a small cohort of government employees. Not only did these men and women willingly conspire to cover up a murder, but they have maintained their silence for seven years.

Believe all that, and you must then give some credence to the probable existence of the tooth fairy.

Tom Mangold was senior correspondent for BBC TV's Panorama. He is now a freelance reporter and author

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Mai Pedersen calls for a 'formal, independent, and complete' review

Dr Kelly 'couldn't have slit his wrist as he was too weak'

By Miles Goslett

Last updated at 11:37 AM on 1st July 2010

Dramatic new testimony has heaped pressure on ministers to reopen the investigation into the death of Dr David Kelly.

A female colleague claims that the UN weapons inspector could not have committed suicide as claimed, as he was too weak to cut his own wrist.

Mai Pedersen, a U.S. Air Force officer who served with Dr Kelly's inspection team in Iraq, said a hand and arm injury meant that the 59-year-old was too weak to cut his own wrist.

Mai Pedersen, a U.S. Air Force officer who served with Dr Kelly's inspection team in Iraq, said a hand and arm injury meant that the 59-year-old even 'had difficulty cutting his own steak'.

Dr Kelly was found dead in woods near his home in 2003 after the Government exposed him as the source of a BBC report questioning Tony Blair's government's case for war in Iraq.

In a letter to the new Attorney General Dominic Grieve through her lawyers, Miss Pedersen also said Dr Kelly had difficulty swallowing pills, casting serious doubt on the Hutton Inquiry conclusion that he swallowed 29 painkillers before slitting his left wrist.

Campaigners hope her extraordinary intervention will convince ministers of the need for a new investigation. Mr Grieve has already indicated that he believes the case could merit a further inquiry.

Had she testified at the Hutton Inquiry, Miss Pedersen would have revealed that in the months leading up to his death Dr Kelly was unable to use his right hand for basic tasks requiring any strength such as slicing food because of a painful elbow injury.

Miss Pedersen says he would therefore have had to be a 'contortionist' to have killed himself by slashing his left wrist, as Lord Hutton concluded in 2004.

She called for a 'formal, independent, and complete' review of the case at the earliest opportunity, saying it was the only way to achieve 'closure'.

The letter said the absence of a full coroner's inquest into Dr Kelly's death and 'perpetual secrecy' meant it was ' crying out' for further scrutiny.

Dr Kelly, who worked for both the UN and later the Ministry of Defence, was found dead seven years ago next month in an Oxfordshire wood.

He was said to be deeply upset after being exposed as the source of a controversial BBC news report questioning Britain's grounds for going to war in Iraq.

The report, by journalist Andrew Gilligan, stated that Tony Blair's press spokesman Alastair Campbell had 'sexed up' the case for war for political reasons.

But, unusually for a death of this nature, no full coroner's inquest has ever been held. Instead, Tony Blair appointed retired judge Lord Hutton to chair a non-statutory public inquiry into the circumstances leading to his body being discovered.

Witnesses, who included Dr Kelly's widow, Janice, and Tony Blair, were not questioned under oath.

Lord Hutton concluded that Dr Kelly died by haemorrhage after slashing his left wrist but, as the Mail reported last week, his death certificate was officially registered before the Hutton Inquiry ended and it was not properly completed.

It was not signed by a doctor or coroner and does not state a place of death, as all death certificates should if this information can be established. This leaves open the possibility that he died somewhere other than where his body was found.

To further deepen the mystery, all evidence relating to the post-mortem has been classified for an incredible 70 years.

Miss Pedersen's view is significant because she knew Dr Kelly so well, both personally and professionally.

The pair worked together in Iraq in the 1990s and remained close friends until his death, although Miss Pedersen, 50, has always that she and Dr Kelly were not romantically involved.

She was initially asked to give evidence to the Hutton Inquiry in 2003 and agreed to do so, but was not called. This was because, it is claimed, the inquiry would not allow her to testify in private.

Her letter to Mr Grieve, dated June 10, states: 'We understand you have indicated a willingness to consider possibly reopening the investigation into the continuing controversy into the death of Dr Kelly.

'Given the absence of any coroner's inquest and the perpetual secrecy surrounding the post-mortem examination, it is painfully obvious that this matter continues to cry out for a formal, independent and complete review. Ms Pedersen fully supports and adds her voice to such an effort.

'The passage of time [does] not diminish either the public's interest or the government's responsibility to ascertain the full truth, whatever that might be.'

The Hutton Report failed to allay suspicions of foul play in Dr Kelly's death. On the morning of July 17, Dr Kelly mysteriously told a friend by email that there were 'many dark actors playing games'.

In 2007 it was discovered, through a Freedom of Information request, that the pruning knife he is said to have used to cut his wrist had no fingerprints on it.