A medical expert claims he has conclusive new evidence that Dr David
Kelly’s death could not have been caused – or even hastened – by an
overdose of painkillers.
The post mortem on the weapons expert said he had taken up to 29
tablets of co-proxamol, and the supposed overdose was listed as a
contributory cause of death.
But Dr Andrew Watt, a clinical pharmacologist, said the evidence
suggested Dr Kelly could not have taken more than two tablets.
Dr Watt said he had studied all available material, including the
toxicology report published by the Government last week, and used a
simple mathematical formula to work out how much co-proxamol had entered
his body before death.
Based on his body weight, the amount of water his body is likely to
have contained, and the strength of the tablets, Dr Watt said it was not
‘accurate or reliable’ to suggest Dr Kelly had absorbed more than a
‘therapeutic dose’ of the medicine – in this case about two pills.
Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in
July 2003 shortly after he was unmasked as the source of a BBC report
claiming the government ‘sexed up’ a dossier on Iraq’s weapons.
Three blister packs of co-proxamol, each capable of holding ten
tablets, were found in his coat pocket. Only one tablet remained. The
official toxicologist, Alexander Allan, was unable to specify how many
pills Dr Kelly had taken but tests showed he had less than a fifth of
one tablet in his stomach.
Lord Hutton, who chaired the public inquiry into his death, found
that he killed himself after cutting his wrist and taking ‘an excess
amount of co-proxamol tablets’. Co-proxamol ingestion is also listed as
a cause of death on Dr Kelly’s death certificate.
Unusually, there has never been a full coroner’s inquest.
Dr Watt has written to the Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner,
outlining his findings and urging him to ask an independent specialist
to investigate his claims.
In the letter, seen by the Mail, Dr Watt said: ‘The hard data points
which exist relating to the alleged “overdose” are consistent with Dr.
Kelly absorbing approximately two tablets . . . the possibility of the
co-proxamol “hastening death” is, in my view, not credible.’
Dr Watt, who was a senior lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, is
the latest physician to question the official version of how Dr Kelly
A group of doctors have formally applied to Attorney General Dominic
Grieve for a full inquest.
Dr Michael Powers QC, representing the group, said: ‘Dr Watt makes a
very important point. The number of tablets ingested and what was
measured in the blood has never been satisfactorily explained.’