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Grandfather fears Iraq War report will be a cover-up

Rifleman Daniel Coffey Credit: Family

The grandfather of a Devon soldier killed in Iraq fears the long-awaited report into Britain's role in the conflict will just be a cover-up.

Sir John Chilcot is due to publish his long-awaited report into the war today, seven years after hearing evidence from his first witness.

David Godfrey, who runs a fundraising shop in Cullompton, can't believe it's taken so long. For him, the UK should never have gone to war in the first place.

It was in February 2007, that David's grandson, Rifleman Daniel Coffey was killed while on patrol North of Basra, shot by a mobile sniper. He was just 21.

The Iraq or Chilcot inquiry began in 2009, with its open sessions ending two years later - but the publication of its findings has regularly been delayed - a delay that has, David says, added to the anguish for the families involved.

"Why has it taken so long, it is just increasing the agony of not knowing, I honestly can't say that I have the confidence that we will still know the truth - why did it take so long? Because I believe they have given certain parties time to maybe create stories that they think will pacify us in some way".

So you honestly believe that this is still some kind of cover-up, is that what you're saying?

"I do, I honestly believe so, yeah."

– David Godfrey, Grandfather
Tony Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry Credit: ITV News

At the outbreak of the War in 2003, the then British and US administrations said it was a part of a War on Terror and that under Saddam Hussein, it was suspected Iraq was developing Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Speaking as part of the inquiry, Tony Blair defended his decision at that time.

This isn't about a lie or a conspiracy or a deceit or a deception.

It's a decision and the decision I had to take was given Saddam's history, given his use of chemical weapons, given the over one million people's deaths he had caused, given 10 years of breaking UN resolutions, could we take the risk of this man reconstituting his weapons programmes?

– Tony Blair, speaking in 2010

David Godfrey lays the blame for every Iraq death at Tony Blair and George Bush's doors.

Tony Blair and George Bush wanted this to happen and I hold them responsible for the death of my grandson and the death of every other son and daughter of my Forces families.

– David Godfrey, Grandfather

Today Rifleman Daniel Coffey would be 30. His grandfather says his future was stolen from him for a war that was, in his words, unjust and illegal.

Today, with the publication of the Chilcot Report, there will be answers - whether David Godfrey and all the families of the fallen choose to accept them.

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