Mrs. Patricia Long, mother of Corporal Paul Long, has today commenced legal proceedings against the Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, seeking a new independent inquiry into the circumstances of her son’s death.
Corporal Long RMP was killed alongside five of his colleagues by a mob of Iraqis on 24 June 2003 at a Police station in Majar-al-Kabir. The six men had been sent to the police station to meet with the local police force which they were tasked to develop.
The only communications the 6 RMP had was a ‘Clansmen’ radio, a piece of equipment so old and outdated they it was completely useless in a built up area such as Majar-al-Kabir; it could only be used in open fields. They were carrying so little ammunition that, had they fired their weapons, they would have ran out of ammunition in no more than a few seconds.
When the police station was surrounded by an angry and armed mob of locals, they were completely helpless. They couldn’t communicate with headquarters to seek help, and they couldn’t communicate with members of 1 Parachute Regiment who were a few metres away in the town at the same time. They couldn’t defend themselves because they didn’t have enough ammunition. They were all killed.
Mrs. Long believes that she and the other families are entitled to answers about the deaths of her son and his colleagues. Why were they not given functional communications equipment? And why were they given so little ammunition?
The MoD has over the years set up a series of internal army investigations including a Board of Inquiry which was specifically directed “not to attribute blame.” An inquest was held in 2006 but without the remit to provide the family with answers and accountability.
The legal claim launched at the Royal Courts of Justice today seeks a new, independent, and effective inquiry into the deaths.
Mrs Long, said today:
“All we have ever asked for is the truth of what happened on that fateful day and for those responsible both directly and indirectly to be held accountable. So far, we have had neither, and are still waiting for answers to questions we asked nearly a decade ago.”
Phil Shiner, solicitor, of Public Interest Lawyers said today:
“It is plain to see that these brave young men were unnecessarily killed because of systemic failings and culpable neglect by the chain of command. The MoD says it has nothing to hide so now is the time for that to be proven.”