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Chilcot Report: Mother Janice Procter expects Iraq War Inquiry 'whitewash'

Private Michael Tench Photo: Ministry of Defence

By Kris Jepson

Tomorrow 179 families will learn why their sons and daughters were sent to war when Sir John Chilcot publishes his long-awaited Iraq War Inquiry Report.

Janice Procter is the mother of Private Michael Tench. He was one of the youngest soldiers to die in Iraq in 2007 aged just 18, when a roadside bomb went off in Basra. For the past nine years she has been searching for the answer to one question, why?

Why was her son sent to a war in Iraq? Under what premise was he sent?

Watch @krisjepson's full report here:

Sir John Chilcot is expected to level strong criticism against former Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in the conflict. Bereaved families want to know exactly what he agreed during his meetings and communications with former US President George W Bush before the 2003 invasion and whether he misled Parliament over the reasons for going to war - something Mr Blair has always denied.

Janice told me she does not expect much from the Chilcot Inquiry, but if there is any solid evidence to answer her questions, she will take legal advice.

“I do think there’s a cover up and it is a whitewash. I don’t ever think, to be honest, we will ever get an answer. I was looking to have some type of closure around that. This report will be published, but it’s where do you go from there? Obviously, if there was things in that report then yes, I would have to speak to a legal to get advice on which way do I turn."

– Janice Procter, Mother of Pte Michael Tench

She added, that if Mr Blair ever admitted he was wrong over Iraq, she would get some comfort, "to have the person (Blair) held responsible, to admit they’re wrong, then I can probably move on.”

Critical of the way the Chilcot Inquiry, Whitehall and the establishment has dealt with the families, Janice told me tomorrow will be emotional.

“How the heck can we read a 150 page document in two hours? It’s absurd. We are treated like animals, we are nothing to them. We’re just another number. I wouldn’t say there’s any respect, there’s no comfort, and to take this length of time to publish on millions of pounds, it’s just absolutely absurd. I think I will be mixed emotions, I’ll be looking for things and skimming through things that aren’t there, or things that are written there, will I take it in? It’s going to be a hard one. It’s going to be like looking at another inquest paper."

– Janice Procter, Mother of Pte Michael Tench

Moving on has been difficult for Janice. First she had to deal with a mother’s grief. Then she had to deal with legal processes surrounding Michael’s inquest. Nine years on she is still searching for answers and it takes its toll.

She told me, "You absolutely live through hell. I have two sections of my life really. One is Michael’s area and one where I’ve had to move on and keep focused and positive. You’re the same person in that skin, but you’re a different you. I could go on forward, keep smiling and laughing as I do or I can let it take me down".

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