Kelly's death 'was NOT caused by an overdose': Drugs expert dismisses theory on weapons inspector

By Miles Goslett
Last updated at 12:47 AM on 30th October 2010

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 died.

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.’

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