Monday, May 16, 2011

Mystery of the Helicopter That Landed at Scene of Dr Kelly's Death

For reasons previously mentioned I'm loath to use the Daily Mail as a news source. And we can add to those reasons, again previously mentioned, that when it suits them, they can actually take on the appearance of a newspaper, as demonstrated by their previous coverage of the David Kelly affair. (See David Kelly tag in sidebar. See also the Mail's David Kelly tag below the article.)

Mystery of the helicopter that landed at scene of Dr Kelly's death after his body was found

A helicopter mysteriously landed at the scene of Dr David Kelly’s death shortly after the body was found.

The aircraft only remained on the ground for five minutes before leaving, suggesting it either deposited or collected somebody or something.

Details from its flight log, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the helicopter – hired by Thames Valley police – landed at Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire at 10.55am on July 18, 2003, 90 minutes after the body was discovered by volunteer search teams.

Significantly, the flight log has been heavily redacted, making it impossible to know who was on board or what its exact purpose was.

The flight was not mentioned in oral evidence at the Hutton Inquiry, set up by Tony Blair to investigate Dr Kelly’s death.

Dr Andrew Watt, who has previously raised questions about the suicide finding reached by Lord Hutton, has written to Attorney General Dominic Grieve drawing his attention to the flight.

Dr Watt, a clinical pharmacologist, said: ‘If the purpose of the helicopter flight was innocent, one has to ask why it was kept secret.’

The riddle joins the growing list of unanswered questions about the circumstances of the government weapons inspector’s final moments.

It emerges in the same week that Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell were accused of lying to the Chilcot Inquiry into the lead-up to the Iraq war.

The Mail reported yesterday how declassified documents from the inquiry revealed a spy chief disputed Campbell’s claim that the dossier was ‘not the case for war’.

A senior diplomat also accused the former prime minister of distorting expert reports about the post-war chaos.

Dr Kelly is said to have killed himself in woods near his home after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing the Labour government of lying to take Britain into war in Iraq.

Uniquely for a suspicious death, no coroner’s inquest has been held. Instead, the Hutton Inquiry found he committed suicide by swallowing painkillers and cutting his wrist with a blunt knife.

Dr Kelly left no suicide note and had arranged to meet his daughter on July 17, 2003, the day he was last seen alive. more

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