Suicide riddle of weapons expert who worked with David Kelly: Scientist tells wife he is going for a walk, then takes his life in a field… just like his friend

'Stressed': The cause of Richard Holmes's (left) death is still unknown.

A weapons expert who worked with Dr David Kelly at the Government’s secret chemical warfare laboratory has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

In circumstances strongly reminiscent of Dr Kelly’s own mysterious death nine years ago, the body of Dr Richard Holmes was discovered in a field four miles from the Porton Down defence establishment in Wiltshire. It is not yet known how he died.

Mr Holmes, 48, had gone missing two days earlier after telling his wife he was going out for a walk – just as Dr Kelly did before he was found dead at an Oxfordshire beauty spot in July 2003.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances in the latest case but revealed that Dr Holmes had ‘recently been under a great deal of stress’.

He resigned from Porton Down last month, although the centre yesterday refused to explain why.
Inevitably, the parallels between the two cases will arouse the suspicions of conspiracy theorists.

Despite Lord Hutton’s ruling eight years ago that Dr Kelly committed suicide, many people – among them a group of doctors – believe his inquiry was insufficient and have demanded a full inquest.

Some believe Dr Kelly, who kept an office at Porton Down right up until his death, was murdered. He was outed as being the source of a BBC report that Downing Street ‘sexed up’ evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to justify going to war.

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