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Western Morning News - 18 March


09:00 - 18 March 2004

A Westcountry surgeon is to push for a judicial review into the death of Dr David Kelly, following the announcement that the inquest will not be reopened.

David Halpin, one of a group of scientists who raised doubts in January about the cause of Dr Kelly's death, believes crucial questions remain unanswered.

Mr Halpin, a former medic at Exeter's Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Hospital, said: "We will be pursuing a judicial review as best as we can.

"We spent hundreds of hours on this case, not because we are conspiracy theorists but because we were unhappy about the cause of his death. I am not sure of the exact procedure for judicial review, but my colleagues have talked about it. We will certainly not give up."

Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner told a special hearing on Tuesday that there were no exceptional circumstances to justify reconvening the inquest.

His ruling follows a representation from Jeremy Gompertz QC, representing Dr Kelly's family, who told the coroner that the family was satisfied that suicide was the cause of death. The inquest into Dr Kelly's death was adjourned last year pending the Hutton Inquiry.

In January, Mr Halpin, a retired trauma specialist and orthopaedic surgeon, and two other medical experts, wrote to Mr Gardiner expressing concern about the cause of Dr Kelly's death.

Mr Halpin, of Haytor, said: "It is extraordinary the idea that a man who knew all about the biology of death would take only 30 Coproxamol and a fairly blunt instrument to cut his wrists and that he would leave no note. He has had a less competent examination of his death than an average person.

"At the Hutton inquiry there was no oath, no powers to subpoena witnesses and no jury. Suicide has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The suicide of David Kelly does not seem to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt."