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BREAKING: Ex-Army doctor struck off

Dr Derek Keilloh Photo: Press Association

A former Army doctor found guilty of misconduct by medical watchdogs over the death of Iraqi detainee Baha Mousa was struck off the register today.

Dr Derek Keilloh, 38, now a respected family GP in North Yorkshire, looked down and blinked slowly as the decision was delivered at the conclusion of a marathon 47-day hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) sitting in Manchester.

He supervised a failed resuscitation attempt to save the life of Mr Mousa, who had been hooded, handcuffed and severely beaten by soldiers after his arrest as a suspected insurgent in war-torn Basra in September 2003.

Dr Keilloh, then a captain and regimental medical officer of the 1st Battalion, Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR), claimed later that he saw only dried blood around the nose of Mr Mousa, 26, while giving mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

His body swollen and bruised, Mr Mousa, a father of two, had suffered 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

An innocent hotel receptionist, he was arrested in an Army crackdown by soldiers who believed, wrongly, that he was an insurgent involved in the murder of four of their colleagues the month before.

The MPTS found Dr Keilloh guilty of misconduct following Mr Mousa's death and announced "with regret" today that the only "appropriate sanction" was banning him from working as a doctor.

The panel heard that at the time of Mr Mousa's death, Dr Keilloh was aged 28, eight weeks into the job, an inexperienced and inadequately-trained young medic, given little supervision or support by the QLR, which was fighting a growing insurgency in the chaotic and lawless sprawling southern city in Iraq.

The MPTS recognised Dr Keilloh, now a GP at Mayford House Surgery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, never harmed Mr Mousa and did "everything possible" to save his life, in a setting that was "highly charged, chaotic, tense and stressful".

But they ruled he must have seen the injuries and, especially as a doctor, had a duty to act.

They questioned his honesty and "probity" after he lied to Army investigators about the injuries and, in sticking to his story, giving evidence in subsequent court martials and a public inquiry.

The MPTS also said Dr Keilloh, knowing of Mr Mousa's injuries and sudden death, did not do enough to protect his patients, the other detainees, from further mistreatment - breaking a "fundamental tenet" of the medical profession.

He told soldiers not to beat other detainees, but the panel ruled he should have blown the whistle to senior officers about what went on.

The MPTS decision said it was the "repeated dishonesty" in claiming not to have seen injuries to Mr Mousa that was wholly unacceptable.

Dr Brian Alderman said: "In all the circumstances, the panel determined that erasure is the only appropriate sanction in this case.

"It is considered that this action is the only way proper standards of conduct and behaviour may be upheld and trust in the profession as a whole may be restored.

"The panel has identified serious breaches of good medical practice and, given the gravity and nature of the extent and context of your dishonesty, it considers that your misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration."

An online petition and support from patients and fellow doctors now working with Dr Keilloh failed to save his job, despite him being described in glowing terms.

Dr Keilloh took up his post in Basra in July 2003, with the city falling apart as over-stretched British soldiers tried to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of Saddam Hussein's police state.

Tempers boiled over as the city sweltered during the stiflingly hot summer after Captain David "Dai" Jones was blown up by a roadside bomb while in a military ambulance and three members of the Royal Military Police (RMP) were killed when gunmen opened fire on their civilian Jeep.

The deaths led to a hardening of attitudes by troops and a crackdown on insurgents.

Operation Salerno, launched in the early hours of September 14 2003, saw 1QLR soldiers searching hotels in Basra for Saddam loyalists.

Mr Mousa was the overnight receptionist at one hotel, Ibn Al Haitham, and arrested with nine others after weapons, fake ID and military clothing was discovered.

Some members of 1QLR believed, incorrectly, that the men in custody were linked to the earlier deaths and this in part explained the severity of the humiliating, and illegal, abuse meted out.

It included hooding, sleep deprivation, being denied food and drink, being subjected to white noise and being made to stand in painful "stress positions".

At around 9.30pm the day after Mr Mousa's arrest, Dr Keilloh was about to finish his shift but was suddenly summoned to the detention area because a prisoner had "fallen and collapsed".

He found Mr Mousa lying on his back with no shirt on and began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.

With soldiers standing around the body, one medic who arrived on the scene said "Look at the state of him!" when they saw the patient "covered in bruises".

Dr Keilloh and his team tried for 20 minutes to resuscitate Mr Mousa before he was declared dead at 10.05pm.

He had spent nearly 24 of the last 36 hours of his life hooded.

Ahmed Al Matairi, who was also detained and beaten, described hearing the final words of Mr Mousa, a widower and father of two, as he was beaten.

He said: "I am innocent. Blood! Blood! I am going to die. My children are going to become orphans."