© Katie Collins/PA
Dominic Grieve, (left) said he would need to see new evidence before applying for an inquest into the death of David Kelly (right).
Hutton inquiry into death of David Kelly may have left loose ends, says chief law officer

The government's most senior law officer signalled today that he was prepared to intervene in the controversy surrounding the death of David Kelly to "give the public reassurance".

Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, said those concerned that Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of the government weapons inspector left unanswered questions "may have a valid point".

Grieve told the Daily Telegraph he would need to see new evidence before he would consider applying for a full inquest into Kelly's death.

Kelly's body was found in woods near his Oxfordshire home in July 2003 after he was identified as the source of a BBC story claiming the government "sexed up" a dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Tony Blair appointed Hutton to head a public inquiry into Kelly's death. The then lord chancellor, Lord Falconer, ruled the inquiry should also act as an inquest.

Hutton concluded that the principal cause of death was "bleeding from incised wounds to his left wrist which Dr Kelly had inflicted on himself with the knife found beside his body".

He also found the scientist took an overdose of co-proxamol tablets - a painkiller commonly used for arthritis - and that he was suffering from an undiagnosed heart condition.

A group of eight experts wrote to the Times recently claiming Lord Hutton's conclusions were unsafe and the former Tory leader Michael Howard has also backed calls for an inquest.

Grieve told the newspaper: "We would like to resolve this in a way that can give the public reassurance."

He added: "People who have expressed concerns about why Lord Hutton did not tie up every loose end may have a valid point."

But he said he could not apply to the high court for an inquest on a "hunch" and would have to take account of the feelings of the scientist's close family, who have not asked for a new investigation into his death.

"I have been given no evidence to suggest an alternative cause of death.

"If new evidence is put to me I can consider if an application should be made to the high court that a fresh inquest goes ahead," he said.

Grieve said he was unable to take any action until the justice secretary, Ken Clarke, decided whether to release key documents from an archive used by Lord Hutton for his report.

Source: Press Association