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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 March 2006, 17:51 GMT
Red Cap father's anger in court
L/Cpl Thomas Keys
L/Cpl Thomas Keys was shot 18 times, the inquest heard last week
The father of one of six Royal Military Policemen killed by a mob of Iraqis angrily confronted his son's commanding officer at an inquest into the deaths.

Reg Keys walked across the courtroom and accused Lt Col Bryn Parry-Jones of abandoning L/Cpl Thomas Keys, 20.

Col Parry-Jones had just finished giving evidence to the court in Oxford.

L/Cpl Keys and five fellow Red Caps were killed after being cornered by about 500 Iraqis in the town of Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.

The inquest had stopped to take a short break when Mr Keys approached Col Parry-Jones.

Other parents spoke to Mr Keys, from Gwynedd, and persuaded him to return to his seat.

The coroner was not present at that point.

Equipment order

L/Cpl Keys, Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, Cpl Russell Aston, 30, Cpl Paul Long, 24, Cpl Simon Miller, 21, and L/Cpl Benjamin Hyde, 23, had been posted to Majar al-Kabir's police station as part of post-war efforts to retrain and re-equip Iraqi police.

SIX DEATHS IN IRAQ
Cpl Simon Miller
21, from Tyne and Wear
Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell
41, of Chessington, Surrey
Cpl Russell Aston
30, of Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Cpl Paul Long
24, from Colchester
L/Cpl Benjamin McGowan Hyde
23, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire
L/Cpl Tom Keys
20, of Bala, North Wales

The inquest heard that Lt Richard Phillips had been left in charge of three military police sections, including that of the dead men, while Col Parry-Jones was back in the UK.

When questioned by the coroner, Lt Phillips said he had not been aware of an order that the men should be equipped with a satellite phone.

"I did not know that at the time," he said.

"If I had known I would not have sent them out."

He was "given the impression" there were no satellite phones available, he added.

Instead, the men's only means of communication was an antiquated radio system introduced in the 1960s, the inquest heard.

Last week, the court heard they could not summon help and their commanders did not know where they were.


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


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