| A woman, presumed to be one of the three daughters of David Kelly, leaves her parents’ home in the village of Southmoor, Oxfordshire, on Saturday. (AFP)
London, July 20: The family of David Kelly, the senior civil servant whose body was found in woodland near his Oxfordshire home, said last night that his life had been “made intolerable” by the row over weapons of mass destruction.
In a statement read out on their behalf by police, Kelly’s wife, daughters and siblings said that they were “utterly devastated and heartbroken” by his death.
Without specifying individuals, the family added that all those involved in placing Kelly under such intense pressure should “reflect long and hard” upon what had happened.
The statement was issued shortly after the police announced that Kelly had killed himself by slashing his left wrist.
The police said that painkillers had been discovered beside his body and that there was no indication that any other party was involved.
As neighbours, colleagues and relatives struggled to come to terms with confirmation that the 59-year-old ministry of defence official had taken his own life, several spoke of their fury at his treatment by the government.
Some accused the Prime Minister of “having blood on his hands”.
In their statement, however, Kelly’s family declined to attribute the blame for his death directly and instead appealed for privacy while they grieved.
“We are utterly devastated and heartbroken by the death of our husband, father and brother. We loved him very much and will miss his warmth, humour and humanity,” said the statement, which was read out by a police officer on the steps of Wantage police station in Oxfordshire.
“Those who knew him well will remember him for his devotion to his home, family and the community and countryside in which he lived. A loving, private and dignified man has been taken from us all.”
“David’s professional life was characterised by his integrity, honour and dedication to finding the truth, often in the most difficult of circumstances.”
“His expertise was unique and universally respected and his life and achievements will always be a source of great pride to us.”
“Events over recent weeks have made David’s life intolerable and all of those involved should reflect long and hard on this fact.”
“We have been deeply moved by the many expressions of support from friends, family and the local community,” the statement said.
“We would also like to pay tribute to the professionalism and the compassion of the officers of the Thames Valley Police.”
“It is hard to comprehend the enormity of this tragedy. We appeal to everyone to afford us the privacy to grieve in peace and to come to terms with our loss.”
Kelly is survived by his wife, Janice, and three daughters, Sian, 32, and 30-year-old twins, Ellen and Rachel.
All the three daughters had returned to the family home on Friday morning to be with their mother.
Curtains at the converted farmhouse have been drawn since Friday night.
Kelly’s wife was taken with another woman, believed to be one of the daughters, to identify his body yesterday. The women returned, escorted by police.
At least a dozen bunches of flowers have been delivered to the Kelly home.
Janice Kelly, the deceased scientist’s wife, has already told Tom Mangold, a journalist and close friend of her husband, that 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”.