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  1. ITV Report

Chilcot Report: North East mothers vindicated over Iraq War findings

Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott Photo: Ministry of Defence

By Kris Jepson

Vowing to keep fighting for the former Prime Minister to be held accountable in the law courts, the families are now taking legal advice on where they go next.

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Elsie Manning is the mother of Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott, who was killed when her patrol boat was attacked in Basra in November 2006. She told me she was pleasantly surprised by Sir John Chilcot’s speech.

"No matter what we said, everybody was saying no you’re wrong. They all said that we had it wrong, that it was justified that we went into this war and of course now it’s been said it wasn’t justified at all, it wasn’t legal and now the whole country, in fact the whole world, now knows that Mr Blair went into this war and he had nothing prepared, nothing there ready for our kids to take with them to help them in their combat. Tony Blair has got to be accountable."

– Elsie Manning, Mother of Staff Sergeant Sharron Elliott

Tony Blair said in a two hour press conference that he had “sorrow and regret” over Iraq, but claimed there were no lies when it came to the reasons for going to Iraq.

Corporal Paul Long Credit: Ministry of Defence

That is something Pat Long disagrees with. Her son, Corporal Paul Long, was killed when a 400-strong mob attacked him and six other Red Caps outside a Majar al Kabir police station in 2003.

Pointing to Chilcot’s remark that Britain chose to join the Iraq invasion before all peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted, she told me, "he didn’t go through parliament or the government. He lied to everybody and he lied to my son. Just to think, my son could have still been here today”.

For Janice Procter, whose son Private Michael Tench was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in 2007, still feels her questions have not been answered by the inquiry.

"Why was my son sent there? Why are 179 families without their children? It’s not just the children's lives, he’s robbed us of our lives and at the end of the day for a man of his stature, a prime minister who does not double check things, who does not get things backed up and can be heavily criticised, it just does not make sense. I do actions wrong, I’m criticised. If I do it wrong by law, I end up in prison.”

– Janice Procter, Mother of Private Michael Tench
Private Michael Tench Credit: Ministry of Defence

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