July 24, 2003

Gloves off in village that wants answers on death

(7/22/03) If you read the NYTwits or the Herald Tribune
yesterday you learned that Dr. Kelly was indeed a man
of stature, experience and principle -- perhaps
Britain's leading bio weapons expert. (Indeed, he was
looking forward to going back to Iraq. He does not
look or read like a fragile man.) If you read The
Scotsman yesterday you learned that his neighbors are
very angry and very suspicious. They are demanding a
real investigation and calling for the resignations of
the shell-of-a-man-formerly-known-as-Tony-Blair and
others...Remember, 2+2=4


Gloves off in village that wants answers on death


SOUTHMOOR is one of those English country villages
which fits the description tranquil like a glove.
Yesterday, the gloves were off.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and Downing Street spokesman
Alastair Campbell were top of the list of those who
the villagers wanted to cross-examine over the death
of one of their own - David Kelly, known by most as
Dai because of his Welsh background.

Eileen Gamble, who knew Kelly since he and his wife,
Jan, first arrived in the Oxfordshire community 20
years ago, said she was furious at the pressure the
quiet civil servant had been put under after coming
forward to say he thought he might be the BBCís mole.

"I think they picked on him," she said. "Iím very
angry and I think they have killed him as I think most
of the village do."

"The awful grilling he went through before the Commons
committee, I think that was wicked. Itís time Campbell
went and I think Blair should follow him, although it
wonít bring Dai back."

Before the Foreign Affairs Committee, Davisí hands
could be seen shaking and the terrible pressure that
he was under was visible.

"Somebody is trying to make it look like the
government were right to go to war in Iraq," Gamble

"Theyíve got to find some excuse to make it right to
have gone to war. Tony Blair has a lot to answer for.
If I had him here I would grill him and make him
squirm, going round doing that to ordinary people like

She said no one in the village could believe that
Kelly had actually killed himself.

"He was a real family man. He was a very private
person but he would often give me a lift into Oxford
if I was waiting for the bus. He was a very friendly
and pleasant man."

Gamble said that last Wednesday night, the day before
Kelly went missing, his wife had been due to attend a
village history society meeting but phoned to say she
couldnít make it as they were going to Cornwall.

However, the Kellysí plan to get away from the fuss in
London never came to pass as the following evening Jan
Kelly reported her husband missing when he failed to
return home.

Villagers yesterday painted the Kelly family as one
that was very much part of the local community.
Despite her arthritis, Jan played an active part in
village life in Southmoor as a member of the historic
society and Womenís Institute. She also helped produce
the local newsletter.

Kelly himself, when he could drag himself away from
his vegetable patch, would often be seen walking from
one end of the village to the other to his favourite
pub, the Hinds Head, where he was a member of the
local cribbage team.

Steve Ward, the landlord, said he had been close to
tears when he heard how Kelly, a customer he knew as a
friend, had killed himself. "That was so unlike David.
He was so sensible and so level-headed and he had a
lovely wife and lovely family," he said.

"He was a great guy. Heíd have a laugh and a joke with
you. Heíd have a giggle, but never anything over the

Ward was visibly angry over Kellyís death and was
among those in the village who were suspicious of
Blairís role in the affair.

"I hope Tony Blair can live with this on his
conscience," he said. "If this is what the government
can do to a straightforward honest member of the
public, then I really donít know. Somebody, somewhere
was responsible for his death.

"But I donít think we will ever get to the bottom of
this, we wonít be allowed to.

"I hope to God this brings Tony Blair down and brings
an end to this bloody government spin. Whoever has
driven David to do this, I hope it stays on their
consciences for the rest of their lives."

Just along the road from the Kelly household lives
Leslie Cowan, a 76-year-old retired engineer who now
edits the local newsletter. The KBS News, as it is
known, is run by an editorial committee that includes
Jan Kelly.

Under its constitution, it is not allowed to get
involved in any political or religious issues. But
this weekís editorial will demand the truth about the
circumstances that led to Kellyís death. It will say
that truth and honesty were the basic disciplines of
scientists such as Kelly.

"We believe that Dr Kelly knew what was true in regard
to the Iraq situation but we donít know what that
truth was or is," the newsletter will say. "What we do
know - what history teaches us - is that truth is not
always well liked and those who stand up for it are
frequently not well treated. Now it has brought
tragedy and dismay to our village."

Yesterday, the woodland fringe where Kellyís body was
found was still cordoned off as police forensics teams
went about their work.

The hedge-bounded path leading up towards Harrowdown
Hill had returned to the gentle buzz of hoverflies and
the sound of songbirds.

It is a popular walkway for those seeking to escape
from modern pressures.

One dog walker said: "It is one of those places that
feels more isolated than it is. Youíre only ten miles
from Oxford, but it feels like 50.

"Itís one of the those places where you can enjoy the
peace of the world."

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Posted by richard at July 24, 2003 12:26 PM