by Associated News Media (London) –
(January 26, 2004) — An American confidante of David Kelly has cast doubt on whether his death was suicide. Days before Lord Hutton’s report into his death is published, Mai Pederson claimed the Government scientist received death threats because of his work in Iraq.
She said she was surprised that he had apparently taken 20 painkillers before slashing his wrist in remote woodland – because he had an aversion to swallowing tablets.
Mrs Pederson, a United States Air Force translator who worked alongside Dr Kelly in Iraq, refused to give evidence to Lord Hutton’s inquiry. But in a statement to police she said Dr Kelly had told her he would “never” commit suicide and that he feared he would be found “dead in the woods”.
She rebutted speculation that she had been romantically involved with the 59-year-old married father of three, insisting their relationship was more like “brother and sister”.
Mrs Pederson told The Mail on Sunday: “I told the police that the fact that he was found dead in the woods was not surprising. “The fact that they said he committed suicide was.”
Mrs Pederson, who lives in Alabama, is a member of the Baha’i faith which Dr Kelly joined some years ago. She said Dr Kelly told her how his mother had committed suicide and confided: “Good God no, I couldn’t imagine ever doing that? I would never do it.” She added: “His job was dangerous. He knew it could cost him his life.”