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By John Helmer, Moscow 

Bernadette Caffarey (lead image, 2nd from left) is the go-to person when high British government officials need a spokesman after a suspicious death has occurred in the vicinity of the secret services; and when withholding of evidence from a coroner or criminal court judge requires discretion, sensitivity, trust. That’s trust on the part of officials that she won’t spill state secrets to the press; and trust of the press that she isn’t lying.

Caffarey is the press spokesman for the inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess which opens in London today, Lady Heather Hallett presiding. For details and analysis of what is at stake, click to read yesterday’s story.

So discreet is Caffarey that she has omitted in her public career resume the years she spent as a press officer at the Attorney-General’s Office (AGO), and as press officer for Dominic Grieve, Attorney-General from 2010 to 2014, when he was deciding not to allow reopening of the inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly who died, officially of suicide, on July 17, 2003. Kelly was a chemical and biological warfare expert from Porton Down and the Ministry of Defence, who worked as a British inspector in Russia in the 1990s, and later for the United Nations in Iraq in the runup to the Anglo-American invasion of 2003. For Kelly’s story and the evidence of his death, read this.

Caffarey was asked this morning to say when she had served as spokesman for the Attorney-General, and what reason she had for leaving an eight-year blank in her career resume, between 2007-2015. She responded that she began at the AGO in April 2009 and served as a press officer there until November 2015. The omission of those years from her Linkedin profile was inadvertent, she said.   

In Caffarey’s Linkedin profile, she says she worked as a producer at the BBC and one of its regional radio partners for almost twenty years, 1987 to 2007. Her next entry is as a press officer, then acting chief press officer at the Home Office, starting in November 2015 and continuing to the present. She’s been seconded by the Home Office to a public inquiry it has been sponsoring over the same period; this is the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. Among the targets of this inquiry have been members of parliament in Westminster; county councillors and regional police officers;  Anglican and Roman Catholic Church clergy; and Greville Janner, an MP, then a peer in the House of Lords.

Caffarey’s Linkedin profile records no entry and no official job for her between March 2007 and November 2015. She was asked to confirm that she had been a press officer and spokesman at the Attorney-General’s Office (AGO) during that time.  The Attorney-General is appointed by the prime minister and holds ministerial rank;   he (she) is the chief legal advisor to the government.  

Caffarey replied that in 2011 she had been in the press office of then-Attorney-General Dominic Grieve when he announced that he had rejected a new inquest into the death of Kelly..   The context of that highly sensitive secret service case was reported here.  The medical and forensic experts rejected by Grieve had told him that “suicide has to be proved to the same high standard as murder” – and this, the experts said,  had not been done for Kelly. They claimed the evidence was proof that suicide could not have been the cause of Kelly’s death. “It was impossible,” the expert report had concluded, “for 2,700 ml of blood to have been lost through this small artery. Indeed, to lose 500 ml through it would have been unlikely.”.

For evidence proving the impossibility of a Russian assassination Novichok as the cause of Sturgess’s death, read the book.  For the opposite, go to the Court No. 76 on The Strand at 10:30 today, or request the audio link

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