An Inconvenient Death

Just finished Miles Goslett’s account of the Dr David Kelly affair and it is a disconcerting read.

Dr Kelly was the British scientist and weapons expert who was caught up in the controversy over whether Iraq really had missiles that could threaten Britain with mass destruction in 45 minutes. This claim was used to help justify the West’s attack on the country.

A riveting investigation by Miles Goslett

Officials in Tony Blair’s government exposed Dr Kelly as a potential source for the news story that ignited the uproar in 2003. However, there was shock when, having been forced to testify on TV to politicians, Dr Kelly was then found dead in woods near his Oxfordshire home.

The official line from the start was that he had committed suicide. But this is where events became murky, as this riveting book makes clear.

With great skill, journalist Miles Goslett pulls together various strands of complex events. He reveals that what occurred after Dr Kelly was found was carefully managed by the government.

Questions about Dr Kelly’s ‘suicide’ keep mounting

Why did the government want to avoid having a coroner investigate this suspicious death, as is nearly always the normal practice? That is this book’s first big question. Instead, the Hutton Inquiry was set up, which managed to leave many questions unanswered and important witnesses un-summoned.

Goslett questions whether a coroner would have concurred that this was a suicide. Did someone move the body? The Hutton Inquiry never really probed this question.

It did not properly ask why a scientist would make such a cack-handed attempt to kill himself, whether the severing of the rather narrow ulnar artery could have been sufficient to cause his death.

If the idea was to neatly wrap up Dr Kelly’s death with the Hutton Inquiry, that plan failed badly. The questions just keep getting louder thanks to books like An Inconvenient Death.