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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 21:34 GMT
Profiles: Iraq abuse soldiers
Cpl Kenyon and L-Cpl Cooley (right)
Many observers believe the case has damaged the Army's image
The conviction and sentencing of the remaining soldiers involved in the Camp Bread Basket abuse trial brings to an end one of the worst episodes in the Army's recent history.

The three men sentenced on Friday were all respected soldiers whose actions baffled their superiors.

L/CPL MARK COOLEY

The picture of a smiling Mark Cooley operating a forklift truck with an Iraqi prisoner hung on the prongs is one of those that has done most damage to the British Army.

For Judge Advocate Michael Hunter it was "nothing less than a calculated and premeditated act of cruelty".

"You used that prisoner on the forklift truck to amuse yourself and others and to enable trophy photographs to be taken.

"Anyone who looks at that photograph can see that man is absolutely terrified and is clinging on to the forks of that truck."

The lance corporal, from Newcastle, joined the Army at the age of 18, describing it as his "greatest achievement".

He served in Northern Ireland, Kuwait, Kosovo and Germany before being sent to Iraq.

During his time in Northern Ireland in 1999, Cooley was involved in a alcohol-fuelled incident with another soldier when he tried to break up a fight by pushing someone onto a bed.

L/Cpl Cooley driving a forklift with an Iraqi tied to the fork
Cooley, driving the forklift, was found guilty of cruel conduct
He was punished with a 500 fine after a court martial for common assault.

Cooley's lawyers said their client was "loyal, quiet, witty and sensitive".

He seemed badly-affected by the proceedings, with illness on the second day of his defence forcing an adjournment.

Cooley admitted lying to the Royal Military Police when he was first interviewed about his involvement in the abuse.

He said he misled them partly because he did not want to "grass" on his friends.

CPL DANIEL KENYON

Cpl Daniel Kenyon was a soldier whose bravery was noted by his commanders, but who frustrated them with his lack of ambition.

During the 2003 Iraq war, Kenyon was commended for defusing as many as 80 boxes of explosives near a bridge that had just been captured.

Kenyon, who was not an expert in explosives, said: "I could have blown myself up."

Gary Bartlam (L) with Daniel Kenyon
Kenyon was implicated by Fusilier Gary Bartlam
The bridge was later nicknamed Stirling after Kenyon's birthplace, in honour of the soldier.

He served in combat in the first Gulf War and witnessed the deaths of colleagues when US forces attacked their armoured vehicle in a "friendly-fire" incident.

In 1996, Kenyon endured personal tragedy when he returned home from work to find his first wife Ruth, 22, dead from a pulmonary embolism caused by taking the contraceptive pill.

The couple's four-month-old son was found suffering from dehydration, because he had been crying all day with nobody to comfort him.

He now has a second child, aged two, and the family live in Celle, Germany.

In his Army appraisals Kenyon was described as "intelligent, reliable and conscientious" and was ranked in the top 7% of soldiers in his regiment.

He was repeatedly recommended for promotion but refused, as he wanted to remain a corporal and his lack of ambition was described by one of his senior officers as bewildering.

His Army career is now over.

The Judge Advocate said that although Kenyon and the other men had not been involved in the sexual images, he had been wrong not to report the other incidents that had gone on and had not exercised sufficient control.

"You were in charge, a section commander. Your behaviour in the taking of the photograph, or at least aiming a camera where a man is being assaulted, clearly demonstrates that you were part of the whole scheme to produce these trophy photographs."

L/CPL DARREN LARKIN

Darren Larkin will return to Britain in ignominy despite being praised in Iraq for his bravery.

The enduring image of Larkin is of him wearing only shorts and standing on top of a frightened Iraqi prisoner.

The 30-year-old had been considered for a mention in dispatches for his bravery in destroying an enemy mortar position.

But he was soon to be disgraced.

L/Cpl Larkin
Larkin pleaded guilty to one charge of assault
In his "shaming and appalling" photographs, Larkin was seen holding a metal pole at a prisoner's head.

Larkin, from Oldham, joined the Army 10 years ago and served in both Europe and the Middle East.

The soldier did not give evidence and was described by reporters as not showing any emotion during the proceedings.

The court did, however, hear about his love of sunbathing.

On the Friends Reunited website, Larkin once revealed he had been "sunning it up in exotic Kosovo".

And the explanation for his attire of boxer shorts and flip-flops in the picture of him standing on top of a prisoner was apparently that he had been sunbathing before the incident.

Larkin pleaded guilty to that assault.

But a charge against him of disgraceful conduct of an indecent kind was dropped after the prosecution said it could not proceed with the case.

The decision to drop the charge came after the main prosecution witness admitted he could no longer be sure that it was Larkin he saw forcing the two men to undress.

FUSILIER GARY BARTLAM

Gary Bartlam, who sparked the whole abuse case by handing in photographs at a developing shop in Tamworth, Staffordshire, described himself as "not the brightest spark".

In court, reporters said the colour drained from his face, and that he avoided eye contact with his fellow soldiers.

The 20-year-old, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, inadvertently triggered the case on 23 May 2003 when he visited a Max Spielmann photographic shop.

Shop assistant Emma Louise Blackie called civilian police and Bartlam was arrested and charged.

Gary Bartlam
Bartlam described himself as not the brightest spark
He told officers: "I know I should have destroyed the evidence."

Up until a few weeks before the court martial, Bartlam had been set to stand trial alongside Kenyon, Cooley and Larkin.

But his legal team negotiated a plea bargain which allowed four serious charges against him to be dropped, one of which could have seen him imprisoned for 10 years.

In return, he now became one of the prosecution's key witness.

He had been facing a total of seven charges, including indecently assaulting one of the Iraqis at Camp Bread Basket, assaulting a man at Apache Camp and aiding and abetting the assault of a man at Camp Gecko.

'Scalps' offered

These charges were dropped. Instead, Bartlam admitted taking photographs of the Iraqis simulating oral and anal sex and was sentenced to 18 months in a Youth Detention Centre and dishonourably discharged from the Army.

Bartlam was accused by the defence for the other soldiers of having "offered up their scalps in order to save his own skin".

In a statement written only a day before the start of the court martial, Bartlam changed his evidence to say Kenyon, the most senior soldier standing trial, had been involved in the scenes of Iraqis being made to simulate sex acts.

This resulted in Kenyon facing two further charges.

Kenyon branded Bartlam a liar who had "needed to drop somebody in it in order to get off the charges".

During the trial Bartlam was branded "a complete nutter" with a liking for violence. This description was based on a number of claims - later dropped - involving Iraqi prisoners at a number of camps.

Kneeling Iraqis

On 23 April 2003, it was claimed he aided and abetted another soldier to assault an Iraqi by beating him.

The incident took place at Camp Gecko, when Bartlam took another picture of one of his colleagues standing over three kneeling Iraqis holding a machine gun in his arms.

On a separate occasion Bartlam was alleged to have hit an Iraqi in the ribs and said: "If I had my way you'd be dead."

A corporal in his platoon was believed to have suggested he should get psychiatric help.

It was also alleged Bartlam broke the arm of an Iraqi at Camp Bread Basket and severely beat another with a pole. He vigorously denied these accusations.

He admitted that he was "not the brightest spark" and he had difficulty reading and writing although he had never officially been diagnosed as dyslexic.

Second youngest

Reporters covering the case noted that Bartlam struggled to follow the proceedings and had little understanding of the implications of what he had done.

He had joined the Army in September 2001 and was apparently described as not the best fusilier but "by no means the worst".

He was deployed to Iraq on 1 April 2003, when he was only 18, becoming the second youngest soldier in his regiment serving in the Gulf.

On 22 May, Bartlam left Iraq and returned to the UK to await being sent to Kosovo.

He reportedly told fellow soldiers he had "had a laugh" in Iraq and bragged about the incidents.

They did not believe him but he told them he had "trophy" photos to prove what had taken place.




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The charges as they are announced



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