Redcaps in Iraq attack were killed unlawfully

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The Independent Online

The deaths of six Royal Military Policemen killed by a mob at Majar al-Kabir in Iraq in 2003 were unlawful but could not have been prevented, an inquest decided.

Nicholas Gardiner, the Oxfordshire coroner, criticised the authorities for sending the redcaps into a hostile area without enough ammunition or better communication systems. He recorded verdicts of unlawful killing on all six men but said it was unlikely they could have been saved, even with better radio equipment, as there was insufficient time for a rescue.

Relatives of the men vowed to push for criminal charges, including manslaughter, to be brought against senior officers. John Mackenzie, the families' solicitor, said he would write to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to demand a full investigation.

The men who died were Cpl Paul Graham Long, 24, from Colchester; Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Chessington; Cpl Russell Aston, 30, from Swadlincote; Cpl Simon Miller, 21, from Washington; L/Cpl Benjamin John McGowan Hyde, 23, from Northallerton; and L/Cpl Thomas Richard Keys, 20, from Bala.

Mike Aston, father of Russell Aston, said there had been flaws in the chain of command and those responsible should pay for it.