Kelly Death Paramedics Query
The Hutton inquiry found that the scientist caught in the storm over the 'sexed up' Iraq dossier committed suicide. Now, for the first time, the experienced ambulance crew who were among the first on the scene tell of their doubts about the decision. Special report by Antony Barnett
Sunday December 12, 2004
In the cramped office of an Oxford law firm, Dave Bartlett's solicitor turns to him and asks if he is happy to stand by the dramatic comment he has just made about the death of Dr David Kelly.
Bartlett's eyes do not waver. 'Yes. I have always said that had it been a member of my family I wouldn't have accepted what they came out with.'
Sitting next to Bartlett is his colleague, Vanessa Hunt. Like him, she has been a paramedic for more than 15 years. She does not hesitate either. 'There just wasn't a lot of blood... When somebody cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere. I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw.'
On 18 July last year Bartlett and Hunt received an emergency call to attend a suspected suicide. Over the years they have raced to the scenes of dozens of attempted suicides in which somebody has cut their wrists. In only one case has the victim been successful.
'That was like a slaughterhouse,' recalls Hunt. 'Just think what it would be like with five or six pints of milk splashed everywhere.' If you slit your wrists, that is the equivalent amount of blood you would have to lose.
But this was not the scene which greeted the two paramedics when their ambulance arrived at Harrowdown Hill woods in Oxfordshire, where the body of Dr Kelly, the weapons expert, had been found.
The big question is: if Kelly did not kill himself, then what happened? No one wants to give an answer to that, though many are aware of the rumour mill and conspiracy theorists who say that the death was suspicious.
Bartlett says there is one way to put such rumours to rest: 'If they showed me photos showing a lot of blood and said he had massive amounts of drugs or another substance in his body and that killed him, I would accept it. But until then there has to be some doubt.'
Bartlett and Hunt know that by making their concerns public they will have increased those doubts. All they want is to get to the truth and a final verdict on the death of a government scientist who threatened the future of the Prime Minister, so that everyone can be satisfied.