Partner of killed SAS trooper says she may not accept MoD's £250,000

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The Independent Online

A woman who was denied a war widow's pension after her partner was killed on an SAS mission in Sierra Leone has been offered compensation by the Ministry of Defence.

Anna Homsi, 31, stands to receive a reported £250,000 to cover the cost of raising the baby she had with SAS trooper Brad Tinnion. The 28-year-old was shot dead in September last year on a mission to rescue 12 Royal Irish Regiment soldiers taken hostage by rebels in the Sierra Leone jungle.

Ms Homsi, who lived with Mr Tinnion for eight years, said she would continue to campaign for the rights of unmarried partners in the armed forces.

Her lawyer, Tom Reah, said she had not decided whether to accept the payment, which he claimed was about half of what she would have received had she been married. The cash was offered as an ex-gratia payment – where no legal obligation exists – to support the couple's baby daughter until she was 17. He told the BBC it would not set a precedent for the unmarried partners of servicemen killed in action in future.

He said: "I can't confirm that she has accepted it as yet. We are looking at the small print and after due consideration we will respond to the MoD."

He added: "Accepting this might be less than she might get under legislation that might be brought in.

"She is very pleased with the progress that we have made to date. But there is a big responsibility on her not only for herself, but for those in the future. We are living in the 21st century and things have moved on so far as the way people cohabit as partners."

An MoD spokeswoman was unable to confirm a newspaper report that Ms Homsi had been offered £250,000. "I cannot confirm the exact amount because that it is a private matter between the MoD and Anna Homsi," she said.

The issue of a financial settlement prompted intensive talks between the MoD and the Treasury to obtain special dispensation. The couple's daughter, Georgia, now aged 10 months, was granted a £2,000-a-year allowance until she reaches 17.

Miss Homsi, who was named chief beneficiary in her former partner's will, was given a one-off discretionary payment of £20,000. Two months ago she said she intended to sue the MoD to get the same benefit as a married partner.