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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 November, 2004, 10:26 GMT
Red Cap families call for inquiry
Cpl Paul Long
Cpl Paul Long was killed in Iraq in June 2003
The families of two soldiers from the north-east of England killed by a mob in Iraq have called for an independent inquiry into their deaths.

Their request follows a government report into the deaths of the two Red Caps who died with four colleagues.

The report concluded that the deaths probably could not have been prevented.

But the families of Cpl Paul Long, 24, from South Shields, and Cpl Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, say they want access to more information.

The men - Royal Military Police soldiers from 156 Provost Company at Colchester Garrison - were killed at a police station in the town of Majar al Kabir, in southern Iraq, in June 2003.

Cpl Simon Miller
Cpl Miller was 21 when he died in Majar al Kabir

A military instruction suggested that soldiers should carry 150 rounds of ammunition, but the six Red Caps only had about 50 rounds each.

According to the Ministry of Defence report, there was no evidence any shortfall of equipment was decisive in the killings.

It did however propose recommendations to improve communications, command and control, and the issuing of equipment on operations.

But John Miller, the father of Cpl Miller, said some important points still needed addressing.

He said: "They have been very thorough, but there are still contentious issues.

'Frustrating process'

"It was the army investigating the army and it needs opening up more. We can't see what they've been told basically. We weren't allowed into the board of inquiry and we've never been allowed legal representation.

"Basically, we have to believe what they are telling us."

From top left: Sgt Simon Alexander Hamilton-Jewell; Cpl Russell Aston; Cpl Paul Graham Long; Cpl Simon Miller; L/Cpl Benjamin Hyde; L/Cpl Thomas Keys.
The six soldier killed in Iraq

Cpl Long's brother, Byron Long, said the soldiers' relatives found the whole process very frustrating.

He said: "All the way through the board of inquiry they haven't really paid much attention to the families.

"After reading the recommendations of the report, I understand that changes are going to be made to army procedures.

"But there is one change they don't seem to plan on implementing, which is to issue general purpose machine guns to non-infantry soldiers, which in my view would give those regiments a better chance in any similar situations."

Gemma Long, the wife of Cpl Long, also said further investigation was necessary, but said relatives were getting conflicting information.

Colonel Mike Hickson, who was in charge of the MoD's inquiry, says he is sure they have come to the right outcome.

He said: "I can assure you we've left no stone unturned in our efforts to find out as much as we can about the circumstances of these tragic deaths, and I've recommended a number of improvements to military procedures for the future."




SEE ALSO:
'Enough evidence' in ambush case
14 Jul 04 |  Derbyshire
Majar al-Kabir: From quiet to carnage
26 Jun 03 |  Middle East


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