Post mortem…ad absurdum

Examined by MR KNOX
16 Q. Dr Hunt, could you tell the Inquiry your full name?
17 A. Certainly. Nicholas Charles Alexander Hunt.
18 Q. Occupation?
19 A. I am a Home Office accredited forensic pathologist.
20 Q. For how long have you been a Home Office accredited
21 forensic pathologist?
22 A. I have been on the Home Office list since 2001. I have
23 been practising full time pathology since 1994.


The Knife has attended many post mortems. They are always highly illuminating, and while there can be differences in interpretation, the bare anatomical facts are just that: facts.  I hadn’t actually realised that David Kelly’s post mortem was not in the public domain, until the bizarre decision by Lord Hutton to keep it under wraps for SEVENTY YEARS was revealed.

Looking at the official website from the Hutton Enquiry, there is actually a lot of detail  from the post mortem in the evidence of Nicholas Hunt, the pathologist involved. I do not question  Dr Hunt’s honesty and competence, although many have wondered  given the unique circumstances, but you have to question his conclusion:  “It is the haemorrhage as a result of the incised wounds to his left wrist…”  (that caused death).

I have often operated in this area myself, and I have seen many incised arteries. It is stretching credibility a long way to conclude that he bled to death from this. It’s not the biggest artery in the body,  it’s not even the biggest artery in the wrist, in fact it’s tiny.  There are lots of other concerns, ably described by Norman Baker, who has been uniquely vilified as a result, and  these concerns are still being properly raised by a group of qualified professionals. As a surgeon, I have to say that it stinks. As a member of the public, I would point out:

  • Why 70 years? The only conclusion is that  it is because everyone will be dead, although I very much doubt that the 70 years will be kept, one way or the other
  • The claim to be protecting Kelly’s family is ridiculous, given the unpleasant detail already in the public domain
  • The funeral was on 6th August 2003, at St Mary’s Church, Longworth in Oxfordshire. There has been a lot of blog chat about whether he was cremated or not, and the implication from the BBC report is that he was not: “..Dr Kelly was being laid to rest in the shadow of the north side of the building of the 13th Century church..”.
  • The picture at the top looks more like a cremation commemorative plaque than a headstone. This should be clarified, but the possibility of an exhumation, which would probably be of limited value, remains.  How would this be brought about? I suspect that it could only be as part of a criminal investigation, or if the family claimed sufficient concern to persuade the authorities that it would be their right. Both seem highly unlikely to happen.

In a very large cast of dodgy characters from the past thirteen years, Lord Hutton cuts a curious figure, hand picked by Mandelson, ridiculed for his report, he reportedly is a little huffy and sensitive due to the initial laughter at his conclusions, and  to the ongoing criticism. Get used to it M’lord. There is one way you could stop it though, it’s never too late…

Lord Hutton
Grumpy
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