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Kelly's treatment was 'absolutely inexcusable', say friends

Jason Deans and Chris Tryhorn
Friday July 18, 2003

Friends of Dr David Kelly have spoken of his deep unhappiness at his treatment since he revealed he had spoken to the BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan, saying he was "served up" to politicians who put "intolerable pressure" on him.

One scientist colleague described him as a man of deep integrity and said the way he had been treated as a "ping pong" ball in a political game was "absolutely inexcusable".

Tom Mangold, a television journalist and close friend of Dr Kelly, said he had spoken this morning to the government adviser's wife, Janice. She had said her husband was deeply unhappy and furious at how events had unfurled.

"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," Mr Mangold told ITV News.

"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."

Mr Mangold said Dr Kelly was a source to many reporters. His ambition was to help serious journalists understand a complex topic, he added.

Their comments echoed those of Richard Ottaway, a Conservative MP and member of the foreign affairs committee, who accused the government and the Ministry of Defence of "using" Dr Kelly.

"What I do regret is the way that he was quite obviously used by the government and the Ministry of Defence in this situation," he told Sky News.

"He clearly was not the key source in the story and the revelations that came out. Obviously it was someone else, and the way that an innocent scientist was used in this I think demands an inquiry at the highest level.

"He did behave honourably. I suspect all along he realised he wasn't the source but I think he thought he'd better tell his superiors that he had spoke to Mr Gilligan.

"Why then that honourable behaviour got distorted in the way that it was remains to be seen."

Mr Ottaway said he believed there were serious implications for politicians and this would go right to the top.

In an interview on BBC Radio 5, he complained about how Downing Street had insisted it was "99.9%" sure that Dr Kelly was the source even though the select committee had concluded he was unlikely to have been.

"This would have put enormous personal pressure on him," Mr Ottaway said.

Professor Alistair Hay, a close colleague of Dr Kelly, said the way in which Dr Kelly, who was reported missing yesterday, had been treated by politicians before the foreign affairs select committee earlier this week was "absolutely inexcusable".

"His whole demeanour during the foreign affairs committee was one of someone who had beaten by the process. I just think the pressure is intolerable for someone like him. He is a professional scientist, not somebody who should be a ping pong ball for politicians," Prof Hay told Radio 5 today after police revealed they had found a body near Dr Kelly's home.

"This man has been served up in a way which was, I just think, absolutely inexcusable," he added.

"He is just someone who had such a lot of integrity. He would have thought, if having spoken to this journalist and thinking he may have been the source of this contretemps between the BBC and the government, it would have been his integrity that would have made him [come forward]."

Eric Illsey, the Labour MP and member of the foreign affairs committee, branded the questioning of Dr Kelly "ridiculous".

Mr Illsey, who was not sitting with the foreign affairs committee on Tuesday when it heard Dr Kelly's evidence, criticised his colleague, Andrew Mackinlay, for telling Dr Kelly he was facing the "high court of parliament".

"When I listen to colleagues talking about that committee as the high court of parliament, that was clearly ridiculous and anybody who was facing that line of questioning would probably feel under pressure," Mr Illsey told Sky News. "Perhaps that was inappropriate."

To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email or phone 020 7239 9857

18.07.2003: Timeline: the Gilligan affair

Related articles
18.07.2003: Body found in search for MoD 'mole'
18.07.2003: 'BBC mole' reported missing
18.07.2003: Profile: Dr David Kelly
18.07.2003: MPs accuse Gilligan of changing story
17.07.2003: BBC row with government deepens
16.07.2003: Tory leader attacks government 'deceit'
15.07.2003: Mole casts doubt on MoD claims
15.07.2003: Kaufman calls for BBC press ban
16.07.2003: MPs say scientist not BBC source
14.07.2003: Is Phil Bassett the new Alastair Campbell?
12.07.2003: Speculation grows over Campbell
10.07.2003: MPs will question MoD arms consultant
10.07.2003: Scientist named as BBC contact
09.07.2003: Short attacks 'bully' Campbell
09.07.2003: Hoon names MoD 'mole' in move BBC brands a farce
09.07.2003: BBC rejects deal on naming dossier source
09.07.2003: BBC chairman's letter to Geoff Hoon
08.07.2003: MoD man admits he met Gilligan
08.07.2003: Dyke urges Campbell to bury hatchet
08.07.2003: Ex-Campbell aide blasts 'salacious' BBC
08.07.2003: Not guilty verdict may not prevent an eventual exit
07.07.2003: BBC hits back over Straw demand for apology
07.07.2003: Humphrys: we were right
07.07.2003: Bury the hatchet, say PR chiefs
07.07.2003: MPs demand investigation of Gilligan contacts
07.07.2003: Report justifies BBC, says corporation
07.07.2003: Campbell cleared of doctoring Iraq dossier
07.07.2003: BBC and government in stalemate
07.07.2003: Governors back BBC in row over Iraq dossier
07.07.2003: Robin Cook: Blair was wrong
07.07.2003: Experts sceptical about pre-war Saddam threat
06.07.2003: Blair stakes reputation in battle with BBC
06.07.2003: MI6 chief briefed BBC over Iraq arms fears
05.07.2003: Dyke summoned to BBC crisis meeting
04.07.2003: No 10 challenges BBC over Hoon interview
04.07.2003: Study deals a blow to claims of BBC anti-war bias
04.07.2003: Dossier not 'sexed up' say MPs
03.07.2003: Top BBC journalists lash out at Sun
03.07.2003: Letter reveals Campbell's role in intelligence dossier
01.07.2003: BBC offers olive branch to No 10
30.06.2003: Minister unrepentant in Gilligan row
30.06.2003: Dossier debacle: the questions left unanswered
29.06.2003: BBC set to sue minister over Iraq 'lies' claim
28.06.2003: BBC takes dossier fight to Campbell
28.06.2003: Master of spin storms studio to become the story
27.06.2003: BBC defiant over Campbell attack
27.06.2003: BBC stands firm in Iraq row
27.06.2003: Straw promises 'decisive evidence' in Iraq row
27.06.2003: BBC scorns Campbell deadline for apology
26.06.2003: No 10 steps up row with BBC
26.06.2003: BBC hits back in Iraq row
26.06.2003: Campbell claims BBC lied
25.06.2003: BBC stands by Gilligan over Campbell claims
25.06.2003: Campbell lambasts BBC over Iraq 'lies'

Reports, statements and letters
07.07.2003: Report on Gilligan and Campbell
Full text of report
07.07.2003: Report at a glance
07.07.2003: Full text of BBC governors' statement
27.06.2003: Sambrook's letter to Campbell: full text

Andrew Gilligan's 'sexed up' dossier broadcast
27.06.2003: Extracts from his report on BBC Radio 4's Today

Comment and analysis
16.07.2003: Simon Hoggart: Whisper of confusion tells its own story
09.07.2003: Patrick Wintour: BBC plays cards close to its chest
09.07.2003: Matt Wells: How BBC saw trickery in Hoon deal
08.07.2003: Matt Wells: BBC back to business in bullish mood
08.07.2003: Lance Price: 'Alastair did not lie'
08.07.2003: Leader: Ministerial sauce
07.07.2003: Rod Liddle: Why the BBC was right
07.07.2003: Tom Happold: Judgment day
07.07.2003: Peter Preston: It's a charade and we all know it
04.07.2003: Matt Wells: Trading blows over the culture of cynicism
04.07.2003: Letters: Single source of BBC discontent
04.07.2003: Justin Lewis: Biased broadcasting corporation
30.06.2003: Peter Preston: Why don't they look for the mole?
27.06.2003: BBC v Downing Street: what the papers said
30.06.2003: Nicholas Jones: Campbell exposed
29.06.2003: Kamal Ahmed: War of the words
28.06.2003: Richard Norton-Taylor: BBC row obscures ugly truth
29.06.2003: Peter Beaumont: The BBC reported what we were all told
30.06.2003: Roy Hattersley: The voters do not like bullies
28.06.2003: Leader: Labour's phoney war

Andrew Gilligan
27.06.2003: Tough reporter who has riled No 10
05.06.2003: Thorn in flesh of Downing Street
05.06.2003: Gilligan defends Iraq report

Press review
07.07.2003: July 7: what the papers said
30.06.2003: June 30: what the papers said special reports
Iraq: the media war

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