1. ITV Report

Soldiers mothers' legal battle with Ministry of Defence

Pat and Byron Long Photo: ITV

The mother of one of six Military Police officers killed by a baying mob in Iraq nine years ago has launched legal proceedings against the Ministry of Defence.

Pat Long, 60, of Hebburn, Tyne and Wear - mother of Corporal Paul Long who died in June 2003 - is taking Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, to court in a quest for a fresh independent inquiry into the circumstances of her son’s death.

Corporal Long RMP was killed alongside five of his colleagues by a mob of Iraqis at a Police station in Majar-al-Kabir.

The six men had been sent to the police station to meet with the local police force which they were tasked to develop.

Lawyers say that the only communication device the six officers had was a ‘Clansmen’ radio, a piece of equipment so old and outdated they it was completely useless in a built up area and could only be used in open fields.

They were carrying so little ammunition that, had they fired their weapons, they would have ran out of ammunition in no more than a few seconds.

When the police station was surrounded by an angry and armed mob of locals, they were completely helpless.

The six, who were all killed, couldn’t communicate with headquarters to seek help and they couldn’t summon help from members of 1 Parachute Regiment who were just a few metres away in the town at the same time.

Mrs. Long believes that she and the other families are entitled to answers about the deaths of her son and his colleagues, including why they were not given functional communications equipment? And why they were given so little ammunition?

The MoD has over the years set up a series of internal army investigations, including a Board of Inquiry which was specifically directed “not to attribute blame.” An inquest was held in 2006 but lawyers say it did not have a wide enough remit to provide the family with answers and accountability.

The legal claim launched at the Royal Courts of Justice seeks a new, independent, and effective inquiry into the deaths.