Parents of Red Caps killed in Iraq to bring human rights claim against MoD

Army Red Caps were killed when mob descended on police station in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003

The parents of four army Red Caps killed by an Iraqi mob 10 years ago say they are determined to uncover the truth behind their sons’ deaths.

Corporals Russell Aston, 30, and Simon Miller, 21, Lance Corporal Benjamin McGowan Hyde, 23, and Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, were killed alongside two other royal military police officers when a 400-strong mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Iraq in June 2003.

A lawyer acting on behalf of the soldiers’ families said they will bring a Human Rights Act claim against the Ministry of Defence in an attempt to force a public inquiry.

Mike Aston, father of Russell, said such a hearing was crucial to bring to justice to those he felt responsible for the deaths. Speaking from his home in Swadlincote, south Derbyshire, the 70-year-old said: “What we want is for people who were culpable in this [members of the armed forces on the day] to answer our questions. We want justice. They weren’t killed in action, it was murder.”

The families have said they will not be seeking any compensation over the deaths, but were dissatisfied with the inquests and board of inquiry investigations held subsequently.

Aston said: “We are not seeking compensation – this is not about money and it never has been.

“I am 70 now, and I thought that after 10 years of fighting this, maybe I have had enough.

“But we want the truth, and will go down whatever avenues are open to us to get that.”

Reg Keys, father of Keys, said there were grave failings on the day his son was ultimately sent to his death, in a treacherous part of Iraq.

He said: “These soldiers’ deaths have been brushed under the carpet. It is almost like the Ministry of Defence lost six pieces of hardware, not six lives.

“We think the public are behind us, they want to know what has happened too.

“I understand and appreciate that soldiers lose their lives. But this, in my view, was totally avoidable.”

He added: “We’ve been told we have a reasonable chance of success with this legal action, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it.

“When you think that six soldiers died and nobody was held to account, that leaves some big question marks.” © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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