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Body matches missing Iraq 'mole'

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Police have found a body matching that of UK official David Kelly, who denied being the "mole" in the Iraq weapons of mass destruction dossier row.

On Friday Prime Minister Tony Blair's officials said an independent judicial inquiry would be held into the circumstances leading up to the scientist's death, if confirmed.

Kelly, a former U.N. weapons inspector and microbiologist who had visited Iraq dozens of times under Saddam Hussein, went missing from his home on Thursday afternoon after telling his wife he was going for a walk, police said.

His family, who live in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, about 80 km (50 miles) northwest of London, alerted police when he failed to return by 11:45 p.m.

The body was discovered at Harrowdown Hill, Oxfordshire, about five miles from Kelly's home. No formal identification is expected until Saturday.

"What I can say is that the description of the man found ... matches the description of Dr. David Kelly," Acting Superintendent David Purnell of Thames Valley Police told reporters.

A Downing Street spokesman traveling with Blair in Japan said the prime minister had offered condolences to Kelly's family. The judge leading the inquiry would have access to all government papers, he added.

The incident comes amid growing concerns over British and U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq -- and the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in the country.

Police watch an ambulance leave Harrowdown Hill, in Oxfordshire, where body found
Police watch an ambulance leave Harrowdown Hill, in Oxfordshire, where body found

Kelly, 59, became involved in the storm over the intelligence on Iraq's alleged banned weapons when the government said he was the source for a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation that officials hyped, or "sexed up" data in a September 2002 dossier to justify war. (More)

BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan cited a single, unnamed source as saying Blair's press chief Alastair Campbell had insisted on including a claim Iraq could launch chemical and biological weapons at 45 minutes' notice. A Parliamentary probe later cleared Campbell of that allegation. (More on dossier)

Kelly gave evidence Tuesday to a parliamentary committee regarding the government's dossier and the BBC report. During the committee meeting, it was suggested Kelly was being made a "fall guy" for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

He admitted talking to the state-funded BBC but said he had made no such assertions about government officials, including Campbell.

The MoD said it had at no point threatened Kelly with suspension or dismissal as a result of his admission that he had spoken to Gilligan. He was told he had broken civil service rules by having unauthorized contact with a journalist, but "that was the end of it," the MoD said.

Kelly was given five days to think about his options before the MoD issued its statement on Tuesday July 8 to say that an unnamed official had spoken to Gilligan.

Committee Chairman Donald Anderson wrote to Foreign Secretary Jack Straw saying committee members believed it was "most unlikely" Kelly was the source.

On Friday, a close friend said Kelly's wife had told him the scientist, who had three grown-up daughters, was deeply unhappy about his role in the political row about WMD and was under great stress.

TV journalist Tom Mangold told ITV News: "She told me he had been under considerable stress, that he was very very angry about what had happened at the committee, that he wasn't well, that he had been to a safe house, he hadn't liked that, he wanted to come home.

"She didn't use the word depressed, but she said he was very very stressed and unhappy about what had happened and this was really not the kind of world he wanted to live in."

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