Red Cap’s family demand answers about his death


Kirstie Dolphin

A FAMILY has demanded a fresh inquest into the death of a Dee Valley soldier.

Six Army Red Caps were killed when a 400-strong mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Iraq more than 11 years ago.

Red Cap soldier, Tom Keys, 20, from Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, was among those who died.

The families of the soldiers are now requesting the last inquest to be quashed so they can apply for a new one after new witnesses and evidence has come forward.

A retired senior army officer come forward last year, claiming intelligence had been passed on about the increasing danger before the Royal Military Policemen were killed.

At the time in September Lance Corporal Keys’ father Reg Keys, from Solihull, said: “It deflates me and it saddens me, but it also galvanises me to want to find out more of the truth.

“They knew that town was increasingly hostile, yet the word used to us was 'benign'. They said it was a totally unexpected incident.
“It's like a knife in the heart that they knew it was dangerous but never bothered to tell the lads. These six lads were let down by their chain of command.”

A letter from the families solicitor Simon McKay, sent to to Attorney General Dominic Grieve on February 18, said an Iraqi interpreter, referred to as Witness One, has evidence that disputes the time of death of the soldiers which was said to be shortly after 10.30am on June 24, 2003.

The letter added: “The witness...left the Red Caps at 11.20 hours at which time they were still alive.

“This is supported by other witness evidence, including that of Grant Naylor who was advised by a Dr Fassal that at “about 12.00 hours” the  soldiers were being held at the police station.

The inquest held in 2006 did not include the statement by Witness One.
Mr Mckay said this is significant as the coroner relied on time of death to conclude nothing could been done to prevent their deaths.

Another witness referred to as Lieutenant Colonel X “was able to provide us with an account that Signals Intelligence was available immediately prior to the incident that there was a real and immediate threat to the lives of armed forces personnel in the Al Majar al-Kabir area”.

This contradicts the coroner’s report which said “nobody seems to have had any intelligence to the effect that trouble was brewing in Al Majar al-Kabit that morning”.

The families of four of the soldiers, including L/Cpl Keys, are currently bringing a human rights act claim against the MoD, hoping to trigger a public inquiry.

An MoD spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the families of those killed in this tragic incident. We remain committed to keeping the families informed of any progress in this case. It is not for the MoD to question the findings of the coroner’s inquest.”

See full story in the Free Press

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