Body of Iraq dossier scientist David Kelly exhumed

Family asked for grave to be dug up as it was being ‘desecrated’ by conspiracy theorists

Dr David Kelly during questioning by the House Commons foreign affairs select comittee, two days before his death in 2003. Photograph: PA Photo

Dr David Kelly during questioning by the House Commons foreign affairs select comittee, two days before his death in 2003. Photograph: PA Photo

 

The body of Dr David Kelly, the British government chemical weapons expert who killed himself in 2003 after being outed as the source of a BBC story, has been exhumed.

The scientist’s family reportedly had his remains cremated after asking for the grave to be dug up because they were upset it was being “desecrated” by conspiracy theorists who believe he was murdered.

Kelly’s body was found on July 18th, 2003, a day after he had gone for a walk near his home in Oxfordshire.

He had been exposed as the source of the report alleging that the government’s dossier on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, presented as central to the case for war, had been “sexed up”.

The Hutton inquiry found he had killed himself, though there has been no inquest into his death.

According to the Sunday Times, relatives claimed the Justice for Kelly campaign group placed placards and notes by the grave and held vigils there, upsetting Janice Kelly, Kelly’s widow.

“[She] hated it, she felt it was a desecration, and asked the police to get them to stop,” a family source told the newspaper.

The campaigners admitted to putting a placard calling for an inquest by the grave but insisted they had not desecrated it.

“We have been at this for four and a half years. We did put placards, one placard, asking for a coroner’s inquest. There has been no desecration. About three years ago Mrs Kelly sent the police round to me one Saturday night. They started questioning me,” said Gerrard Jonas, of the campaign group.

He told the Sunday Times: “Dr Kelly’s body was ... removed in the last week of July, headstone and all. They dug it up overnight. It was all done in haste. What looked like pieces of the coffin were left behind.”

A spokesman for Thames Valley police said: “The body of Dr David Kelly was exhumed a few months ago at the request of his family.” - Guardian News and Media