Chilcot report: Sister of soldier killed in Iraq War brands Tony Blair 'world's worst terrorist'

The families of service personnel

The sister of a serviceman killed in the Iraq War has branded Tony Blair the "world's worst terrorist", as the families reacted to the Chilcot report.

An emotional Sarah O'Connor, whose brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor was killed in 2005 when the aircraft he was in was bought down by insurgents, made the comment following the publication of the report.

Speaking after the publication of the report Mr Blair said: "Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country."

The families of those killed in the war added that their loved ones had died "unnecessarily", while Reg Keys, whose son Lance Corporal Thomas Keys, was 20 years old when he was killed in Iraq in 2003, added that his son had "died in vain".

Mr Keys added that intelligence reports were "sporadic" and "should not have been relied upon" and that he believed Tony Blair knew that they were "a lie".

We were proud when our husbands, sons and daughters signed up to serve our country. But we cannot be proud of the way our government has treated them.

Roger Bacon, whose son Major Matthew Bacon was killed when a roadside bomb exploded

Asked what they would like to ask the former prime minister, they responded that they would like him to "look them in the eye".

Today is a day the families should be at the forefront of everybody's minds. But so too should be the thousands of British soldiers wounded in Iraq, the tens of thousands of British veterans who served there, and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died during the conflict and since. The families are pleased that the inquiry has discharged its duties without fear, favour or prejudice. However, they are of course saddened that it appears to have been confirmed that their loved ones died unnecessarily and without just cause or purpose. In the coming days and weeks, the families will undertake a full and forensic review of the report's content and conclusions. If state officials are determined to have acted unlawfully or in excess of their powers then the families will then decide on whether to take any necessary and appropriate action at the proper time. All options will be considered. Just as importantly, as well as examining the culpability of individual state officials, we must also look at the process that led to the war so that we never make such grave mistakes with such tragic long-term and far-reaching consequences again.

Matthew Jury, a lawyer for the families
Matthew Jury, the lawyer for the families.

Following the report's publication, Ronnie Barker, the mother of 23-year-old Private Lee Ellis who died in 2006, has said she "would like to see Tony Blair in court".

Ms Barker added that she had expected the report to be "a whitewash but I actually cried".

Wars such as the Iraq War must never happen again, and the decision to go to war should never again be "twisted and confused, with no liability for such actions", the families of those killed said in reaction to the Chilcot report.

The families added that they were the voices of "those who are no longer with us", and that they would be heard and would get answers to their questions.

Roger Bacon, the father of Major Matthew Bacon who was killed by a roadside bomb, said that following Sir John Chilcot's findings, the British Government should "ensure that the political process by which our country decides to go to war is never again twisted and confused with no liability for such actions".

Roger Bacon

Legal actions are possible, the families' lawyer, Matthew Jury has said, but added that time would be needed to come to a decision on how to proceed following the reports publication.

The families added that the report took "too long", but that it was "an extremely thorough piece of work" and "worth the wait".