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Kelly was victim, says UK press


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start quoteIt is ironic that a man who had been able to deal with Saddam's thuggish henchmen during his work in Iraq should in the end have had his spirit destroyed by a combination of the British government and the BBC.end quote
-- The Sunday Telegraph

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The story of the apparent suicide of scientist David Kelly dominates Britain's Sunday papers. In their editorials, most agree that Kelly was a victim, caught in the middle of a vicious power struggle between the British government and the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The Sunday Telegraph has the headline: "Kelly's last cry for help: 'I'm haunted by many dark actors playing games.'"

It says: "The mystery of Dr. Kelly's death deepened with the revelation that he sent friends e-mails hours before his death, talking of being haunted by 'many dark actors playing games.'"

It says the e-mails are certain to be key evidence in the judicial inquiry into the affair.

The newspaper also says the ministry of defense has admitted it privately gave Dr. Kelly's name to three newspapers on July 9, despite assurances to Kelly that his identity would be kept secret.

"This contradicted earlier claims by Geoff Hoon, the defense secretary, that there had been no such breach of confidentiality," the newspaper says.

In its editorial, it says: "It is ironic that a man who had been able to deal with Saddam's thuggish henchmen during his work in Iraq should in the end have had his spirit destroyed by a combination of the British government and the BBC."

The Sunday Times says that e-mails and interviews before his death showed David Kelly "felt betrayed" when the MoD revealed his name.

He was put under "intolerable" pressure by being placed at the center of the row between the government and the BBC, the newspaper says.

The paper says special branch detectives have sealed off Kelly's Whitehall offices as part of a wide-ranging investigation into why he died.

The Observer newspaper quotes Kelly's family as saying "Events made David's life intolerable."

It quotes the prime minister's close ally, Peter Mandelson, as making what it calls "an astonishing attack" on the BBC.

Calling for a fundamental change in the "poisonous relationship" between politicians and the media, the former Northern Ireland Secretary blames the BBC's pursuit of Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, for the way the row between them had spiraled out of control.

Under the headline: "Who will take the blame?" the Independent on Sunday says: "The horrific death of a talented scientist haunted the footsteps of the prime minister yesterday, half way across the world."

The Mail on Sunday newspaper says Blair's political future was in doubt "after the grief-striken family of David Kelly called on 'all of those involved to reflect long and hard' over his ordeal."

In an editorial, the newspaper says: "With that amazing nerve which has taken him so far in life, the prime minister pleads for restraint and respect in the national debate about the death of Dr. David Kelly.

"Mr Blair talks as if he were a neutral figure, uninvolved and above the fray. But Downing Street has been at the very center of the elaborate, ruthless operation which has led to this wretched death."

(Click here for a review of Saturday's papers)


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