Skip to main content
CNN EditionWorld
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!

PM under fire after expert's death

flowers
Flowers arriving at Kelly's home on Saturday.

Story Tools

QUICKVOTE
Should British Prime Minister Tony Blair cut short his Asian tour?
Yes
No
VIEW RESULTS

LONDON, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair is coming under renewed criticism over his government's Iraqi policy after the death of a key UK weapons expert.

Police confirmed Saturday that a body found in a rural area north of London is that of missing defense ministry official David Kelly.

Kelly, 59, bled to death from a cut to his left wrist, police said.

They said a knife and a package of painkeller tablets were found with the body when it was discovered 8 kilometers (five miles) from Kelly's house in Southmoor, Oxfordshire.

"Whilst our inquiries are continuing, there is no indication at this stage of any other party being involved," David Purnell, acting superintendent of Thames Valley Police, told reporters in Wantage, near Southmoor.

The British leader arrived at a military airbase in southern Seoul on Sunday following his visit to Japan.

Blair will hold a summit with South Korean president Roh Moo-Hyun Roh before departing later in the day for Beijing.

Kelly, an expert in biological weapons, had been caught up in a fierce row between the government and the British Broadcasting Corporation over a report that Downing Street had "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair called Kelly's death "an absolutely terrible tragedy."

"I'm profoundly saddened for David Kelly and for his family. He was a fine public servant who did an immense amount of good for his country in the past and I'm sure would have done so again in the future," said Blair.

Kelly's family said in a statement that his professional life was one of "integrity, honor and dedication to finding the truth, often in the most difficult circumstances.

Kelly
Kelly told a parliamentary committee he did not believe he was the source of the BBC report.

"Events over recent weeks have made David's life intolerable, and all of those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact."

Earlier Saturday, Blair faced tough questions about Kelly's death at a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo.

He was asked if Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon or his communications chief Alastair Campbell would resign over the affair, but refused to be drawn.

Blair said politicians and the media alike "should show some respect and restraint" ahead of the inquiry into Kelly's death.

Asked if Kelly's death was "in some way on your conscience," Blair replied: "I totally understand why you want me to elaborate on what I said this morning, but let me repeat it, there is going to be a full independent inquiry.

"I think we should make our judgment after we get the fact."

As the press conference ended a journalist shouted: "Have you got blood on your hands prime minister? Are you going to resign?" That question was not answered because Japanese authorities were wrapping up the briefing.

Blair has announced an independent judicial inquiry.
Blair has announced an independent judicial inquiry.

Blair, who is in Tokyo as part of a round-the-world diplomatic tour, has already announced an independent judicial inquiry into events leading up to Kelly's death.

"There is now, however, going to be a due process and a proper and independent inquiry and I believe that should be allowed to establish the facts," he told reporters in Tokyo.

"And I hope we can set aside the speculation and the claims and the counter-claims and allow that due process to take its proper course," he said.

Meanwhile, Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has written to Blair demanding that he recall Parliament from its summer recess to consider the fallout from Kelly's death.

He also called for a broader inquiry into the government's handling of intelligence on Iraq.

Glenda Jackson, a Labour Party MP and former cabinet minister under Blair, said the prime minister "should bite the bullet and resign."

She told SKY News that Kelly's death "is absolutely appalling ... and shameful and disgraceful."

Kelly was reported missing Thursday, two days after being questioned by MPs investigating BBC claims that Campbell "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq.

He was called to appear before the committee after being identified as the probable source for reporter Andrew Gilligan's story by his bosses at the Ministry of Defence.

Kelly's wife Janice had told a friend 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."

He had three daughters -- Sian, 32, and twins Rachel and Ellen, 30.

Meanwhile, Andrew Mackinlay, the Labour MP whose tough public questioning of Kelly was criticised following his disappearance, has issued a statement expressing his sorrow.

"I deeply regret Dr. Kelly's death. I am sorry for any of the stress that, albeit unintentionally, I may have caused him during his questioning before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

"I wish to express my sincere condolences to his wife and family."


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.