Sunday, July 6, 2008
The mystery surrounding the sudden illness of Britain’s top spy deepened last night after a neighbour revealed he was found covered in blood by an artist who worked in his house.
Alex Allan, the 57-year-old chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, was still in a coma under police guard as doctors ran tests to try to identify what caused him to collapse.
He was found by wildlife painter Dominique Salm, who took over the studio in his home when his artist wife of 29 years, Katie Clemson, died of cancer last year.
Neighbours said yesterday that Miss Salm, 35, may have saved his life. She told them she encountered a horrifying scene, with Mr Allan slumped unconscious and ‘blood everywhere’.
Whitehall sources insisted yesterday there was no evidence of foul play – and blamed his collapse on pneumonia. But this does not chime with Miss Salm’s account of what she found.
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Experts say pneumonia sufferers may cough up some blood but rarely large amounts.
Miss Salm’s account of the events is likely to fuel speculation over whether Mr Allan was a target for foreign agents.
Meanwhile her mother, Sally Ann Salm, added to the intrigue by declaring: ‘Some very serious people have asked Dominique not to comment on any of this until it has been fully investigated and she is doing just that. So am I.’
One of Miss Salm’s neighbours said: ‘Apparently there was blood everywhere. Dominique has a set of keys for Alex’s home because she works there during the week.