Army claws back £433 paid to dead soldier

The Ministry of Defence has clawed back money paid to a soldier killed in Afghanistan because he died before the end of the month.

The family of Lance Corporal Jordan Bancroft, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, was told £433 was overpaid into his account because he died on August 21 last year and had been paid for the month in advance.

It was taken from a payment of £1,493.04 refunded for holiday time off not taken. Newspapers reported the 25-year-old's father, Tony Bancroft, from Earby, near Burnley, saying: "When I read the letter, it felt like I'd been poked in the eye with a sharp stick.

"I think it is undignified and very petty to be sent a bureaucratic letter like this."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said yesterday they regretted any distress this matter had caused the family. He added: "We never ask families of those killed in service to pay money back. If there is an overpayment of salary and further payments are due to an estate, adjustments are made to ensure families receive what they are owed. A recent improvement means that families of those killed in service receive payment for leave due, but, of course, overpayments need to be taken into account at the same time."

He added: "Every case involving death in action must be handled with particular care, and to achieve this we strive to have clear rules to ensure the system operates fairly for all."