Caught up in row with the British government over the controversial report, the British broadcaster confessed its report had come from the defence adviser, who killed himself  three days ago.

“Having now informed Dr Kelly’s family, we can confirm that Dr Kelly was the principal source,” BBC head of news Richard Sambrook said in a statement read to television cameras.

“The BBC believes we accurately interpreted and reported the factual information obtained by us during interviews with Dr Kelly,” he said.

Ill at ease by the public spotlight that the controversy turned on him, Dr Kelly slit his wrist near his Oxfordshire home and killed himself on Thursday.

A former UN weapons inspector, the death of the soft-spoken erudite expert, has fuelled the controversy further over British intelligence reports on Iraqi weapons.

Both the BBC and Downing Street are being accused by some quarters of pushing Dr Kelly to an untimely death by dragging him into an unseemly controversy.

“We continue to believe we were right to place Dr Kelly’s views in the public domain,” insisted Sambrook.

“We continue to believe we were right to place Dr Kelly’s views in the public domain.”

--BBC head of news Richard Sambrook

“However, the BBC is profoundly sorry that his involvement as our source has ended so tragically,” he explained.

The BBC’s head of news also said that normally the broadcaster would feel an obligation to protect its source, but felt it had to release the information following Kelly’s death.

The BBC had initially refused to divulge its source, though the British government speculated that it could be Dr Kelly.

The controversial BBC alleged the government exaggerated intelligence to indicate Saddam Hussein could mobilize weapons of mass destruction in 45 minutes.

But Downing Street insists the claim is completely untrue.

As the controversy raged, Dr Kelly was also called to testify before a parliamentary committee last week, where he reportedly faced tough grilling from members of parliament.

His family says the controversy put an “unbearable burden” on the intensely private man.