Scotland Yard: Bhutto killed by bomb, not bullet
The British investigators also said that the evidence indicates only one assailant in the fatal attack on the former Pakistani prime minister.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed by the impact of a suicide bomber's blast, not by gunshot, according to Scotland Yard detectives. The detectives' report, which was unveiled Friday, largely confirms the initial findings of Pakistani authorities, who have been accused by Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of covering up evidence.Skip to next paragraph
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In an official summary of the Scotland Yard report, Detective John MacBrayne writes that "all the evidence indicates that one suspect has fired the shots before detonating an improvised explosive device," though he notes that access to evidence was limited.
The task of establishing exactly what happened was complicated by the lack of an extended and detailed search of the crime scene, the absence of an autopsy, and the absence of recognised body recovery and victim identification processes. Nevertheless, the evidence that is available is sufficient for reliable conclusions to be drawn. ...
[UK Home Office pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary] states: "The only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb blast.
"In my opinion, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a severe head injury sustained as a consequence of the bomb blast and due to head impact somewhere in the escape hatch of the vehicle."
The report adds that x-rays of Bhutto's head, when taken with the accounts of those who washed her body for burial, indicates that she was not shot. In addition, the detectives found no evidence of a second assailant, despite early reports that Bhutto was attacked both by a man with a gun and a suicide bomber. The evidence, the report says, suggests the shooter and the bomber were one in the same.
The BBC writes that "the exact cause of death may help shed light on who was behind the attack. Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has suggested that if sophisticated weaponry were used it could indicate the involvement of elements of the [Pakistani] security establishment." A lethal impact from the bomb blast would not strengthen the PPP's contention that the Pakistani government was involved.
"The party is still looking at the Scotland Yard report -- however, it is difficult to agree with its findings on the cause of death," Pakistan People's Party spokeswoman Sherry Rehman told AFP.
"We do believe that she was killed by an assassin's bullet," she added.