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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 January, 2004, 15:27 GMT
Call for Red Caps deaths inquiry
Royal Military Police officers
Military police at a service for their dead colleagues in June
The brother of a Royal Military Policeman killed in Iraq has called for a public inquiry into his death.

Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell and five other Red Caps died when they were set upon by 400 Iraqis in a police station in Majar el-Kabir last June.

The men's families were briefed in London on Thursday on progress in the investigation into their deaths.

The casualties, seven weeks after the war ended, were the highest suffered by the military police for 50 years.

Ahead of the meeting with the Army's Special Investigation Branch (SIB), Tony Hamilton-Jewell, 57, demanded a full public inquiry into the deaths of his brother and the five other men.

We are going to take the public inquiry route eventually because we're in a situation of the Army investigating the Army
Tony Hamilton-Jewell
"To be honest, I don't think were going to get any more answers from the Army today than we did on 3 October, in the original meeting," he said.

"We are going to take the public inquiry route eventually because we're in a situation of the Army investigating the Army.

"In a public inquiry you get the real world investigating, you have got some real answers."

The Red Caps from 156 Provost Company were there to train Iraqi policemen in the town, 120 miles north of Basra.

It is thought the policemen were attacked during demonstrations against what were seen as heavy-handed weapons searches.

Heading home

It was reported that two days before they were attacked on 24 June there was trouble in the region over searches conducted by British paratroopers.

The MoD investigation was launched following claims the men had been exposed in a dangerous location without sufficient back-up.

All six Red Caps were from the Goojerat Barracks in Colchester, Essex.

Some of them were on their last day of duty in Iraq and were due to fly home the next day.

RMP TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ
Corporal Simon Miller, 21
Tyne and Wear
Sergeant Simon Alexander Hamilton-Jewell, 41
from Chessington, Surrey
Corporal Russell Aston, 30
Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Corporal Paul Graham Long, 24
Colchester
Lance-Corporal Benjamin John McGowan Hyde, 23
Northallerton, Yorks
Lance-Corporal Thomas Richard Keys, 20
Bala, N Wales

But one parent, who did not want to be named, told BBC defence correspondent Paul Adams he believed some people were simply looking for someone to blame.

The man said the families had always been told the investigation might take a long time, and praised his treatment by the military.

He told our correspondent there were still questions to answer but that the behaviour of some families threatened to devalue what their sons had been doing in Iraq.

In October the Ministry of Defence defended the length of its investigation.

On Thursday, the MoD said in a statement it would be making the results of its investigation public.

"We're doing all we can to establish the facts and to hold to account those responsible.

"The SIB investigation is ongoing and at the moment we can't speculate on the outcome.

"But once the investigation is concluded we'll make public as much as possible within security and operational restraints."


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Richard Bilton
"He [Mike Aston] arrived with the other families today wanting to know more"


The families speaking after meeting the SIB
"Until we get the people responsible we can't move on"



SEE ALSO:
Eyewitness: Walls riddled with bullets
25 Jun 03  |  Middle East


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