Dr Kelly laid to rest in moving service

 

BRITAIN: The grieving family of Dr David Kelly laid the weapons expert to rest yesterday in a moving funeral service.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Prescott, and Lord Hutton, who is leading the inquiry into the scientist's death, joined Dr Kelly's relatives and friends for the ceremony at St Mary's Church in the Oxfordshire village of Longworth.

His widow Janice (58), the couple's eldest daughter Sian (32) and twin daughters Ellen and Rachel (30) led mourners during the 40-minute service, which reflected her husband's Welsh roots and his attachment to the pacifist Baha'i religion.

The coffin, decked with a wreath of white flowers and a blue cushion wrapped in a red ribbon, arrived at the church in a hearse eight minutes before the start of the service at 2 p.m.

The vicar of St Mary's, the Rev Roy Woodhams, said the pallbearers were all family members although they were not "blood relations".

Around 160 mourners attended the service, which opened with the Welsh hymn Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.

Family friend and former BBC Panorama journalist Tom Mangold, who was the first to arrive at the church, said: "It showed how closely he maintained his Welsh roots. He preferred being called Dai to David."

A poem by Wilfred Howe-Nurse, a Longworth poet who used to live at Dr Kelly's house, Westfield, in the village of Southmoor, was then read to the congregation, said Mr Mangold.

The vicar told the mourners: "We are here because of the tragedy that has taken place.

"We are not here for the media or to make a political statement or to apportion blame."

The service also included a Baha'i prayer. His family were said to have chosen the prayer from a selection made by followers at his local Baha'i centre in Abingdon.

The service closed with the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.

Dr Kelly was then buried in the graveyard of St Mary's in the shadow of the north side of the 13th century building.

Visible just over a mile away is Harrowdown Hill, where Dr Kelly's body was found with his wrist slashed and a packet of painkillers by his side on July 18th.

Speaking after the service, Mr Mangold said: "It was quiet, it was gentle and in every way reflected the man."

Around 40 wreaths were laid to the right of the pathway near the church gate with message cards from well-wishers. Dr Kelly's family were determined to keep the service as private as possible, and asked for media access to be restricted.

The body of Dr Kelly (59) was found on July 18th after he was named as the "mole" for a BBC report that claimed the government had "sexed up" its Iraq dossier.