Top political conspiracy theories



The murder of Hilda Murrell, 1984

The 78-year-old spinster, noted mainly for her expertise as a rose grower, was brutally murdered in March 1984. Conspiracy theorists said she was murdered because of her opposition to the civil nuclear programme, by private contractors employed by the nuclear lobby or MI5. Another theory involved Miss Murrell’s nephew, a former commander in the Royal Navy who had been instrumental in sending the signal authorising the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands War.

Labour MP Tam Dalyell told the House of Commons: “There are persons in Westminster and Whitehall who know a great deal more about the violent death of Miss Hilda Murrell than they have so far been prepared to divulge.” In June 2003 Andrew George, a builder’s labourer with previous convictions, was arrested and charged, after his DNA was found to match samples taken from the crime scene. He was found guilty of her murder in 2005.


Dr David Kelly’s suicide, 2003

Dr David Kelly, a biological warfare expert for the MOD, was found dead near his home in July 2003, shortly after being exposed as a source for a BBC story that claimed the Government’s Iraq dossier had been “sexed up”. The Hutton Inquiry into Kelly’s death concluded that he had committed suicide.

Conspiracy theorists say it’s more likely he was murdered, despite no firm evidence supporting the claim. They include Norman Baker, a Lib Dem MP and – since yesterday’s reshuffle – a Home Office Minister, who argued in a 2007 book (see above) that Iraqi dissidents were probably responsible and that their crime was covered up by MI5. Extraordinarily, he has been appointed to a Government department that oversees MI5’s work.

Andrew Gilligan, the former BBC journalist who used Kelly as a source for his Iraq dossier story, concludes: “For Dr Kelly to have been murdered, as the pathologist’s report makes clear, it would have needed someone to force 29 pills down his throat, making him swallow them without protest. Then they would have had to get him to sit on the ground without any restraint, making no attempt to defend himself, while they had sawn away at his wrist with a knife. That knife, by the way, came from the desk drawer in Dr Kelly’s study, so they’d also have had to burgle his house to get it.”