I've only now become aware of this book. But I've been unhappy about the circumstances for a long time.
Disclaimer: in a past life I was a medic, a surgeon. I know what the ulnar artery is, and I've been to lots of court proceedings and coroner's courts.
This book, sadly, doesn't have much detail about the post-mortem on Dr Kellty: Lord Hutton wanted this embargoed for 70 years, though it's now available. Forgive me if I go into anatomical detail here.
The PM describes a laceration to the left ulnar artery. the ulnar artery is one of two that supplies the hand. Classically, the raidal artery ( on the thumb side of the hand) and the ulnar artery (on the little finger side) join or anastomose in the hand. But, the ulnar artery is a feeble thing. It's not always patent, and sometimes the flow is retrograde. If the radial artery is to be cannulated, then physicians use Allen's test, a compression of both arteries, and then release of one to see if the other is patent.
We're told that his (left) ulnar artery was divided. After division of an artery, it should go into spasm, that is, there should not be much bleeding. In this case, there wasn't. Were you to exsanguinate from division of the ulnar artery, it would take hours, and there would be evidence of at least 2 litres of blood loss. (There wasn't)
Dr Kelly also had evidence of coronary artery atherosclerosis; this is normal enough in a man of his age (59).
So how did he die? The available evidence is, to mind, inconclusive. He didn't bleed to death, but he might well have had an infarct.
What caused his death? Ah, there's the nub. It's possible that he suffered a sudden, major depressive attack, causing him to take his own life. (No fingerprints on the knife?) Or was he murdered? And if so, by whom, on whose instructions?
This is where the book gets really muddled. I can't really accept the verdict of suicide, but nor can I accept that it was the Iraqis.
Were I the coroner, I'd have had to have said that the cause of death was "open".
Lord Hutton's inquiry? A rather strange substitute for an inquest. Lord Hutton could only go on the "evidence" produced to him, yet it seems that much of the backstory was omitted. And while Lord Hutton is expert at weighing the "evidence", he seems not to have been inquisitive. Further, he was produced almost instantaneously. Strange? And he was known to be a "conservative". In the US Supreme courts, the judges are either liberal or conservative, but in the UK there is the belief that they are "independent". So it's not surprising that his report was deemed a "whitewash" in many quarters.
Here it's, in part. the judicial and investigative process that is being questioned. If you think that the judiciary are beyond political manipulation, then I suggest you look up the trial of Stephen Ward in the 1960s. He was found guilty of crimes he didn't commit—an establishment cover up, if you will. Or at the trial of Marguerite Alibert in the 1920s. She was found not guilty of a murder she committed: but she had been the mistress of the Prince of Wales, and this was covered up.
And the cops? This isn't so certain, but there have been lots, so many, cases of them fitting people up for crimes in the last few decades, that some political involvement is quite possible.
A very strange death: Oh, it was. There are too many half-answered questions, too much fitting the facts to fit the agendas, too many frankly squalid undertones.
I don't know what the truth is; this book clarifies as much as it confuses. What we have been told is a very partial view of what happened. We'll have to wait until all the classified papers are released. Alas, I won't be alive then to say "I told you so".
Four*? Too much purple prose for my taste;