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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Kit criticised over Gulf death
Sergeant Steven Roberts
Sergeant Steven Roberts: Memorial service in September
The stepfather of a soldier killed in the Gulf War says his son would still be alive if he had had the right equipment.

Desert Rats tank commander Steven Roberts, 33, from Wadebridge, Cornwall, was shot through the chest during a riot in Al Zubayr, near Basra, three days after the conflict began.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is holding an inquiry and more details are beginning to emerge about his death.

The MoD confirmed Sergeant Roberts was issued with body armour but had to take it off - because it was needed by infantry soldiers.

His family said Sergeant Roberts' pistol jammed after he had fired two warning shots, and a tank's gun also failed.

'Professional soldier'

Stepfather Malcolm Chapman said: "My feeling is that he should never have gone into the battle zone without the correct equipment.

"Steven was a very professional soldier. I've known him very well for the last five years and I feel that if he had had the correct equipment, he would still be here today."

The MoD said the continuing Royal Military Police investigation and the forthcoming board of inquiry would deal with issues relating to weapons.

Sergeant Roberts, of the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was raised and went to school in Wadebridge.

He and his wife Sam were living in Shipley, West Yorkshire, before he was deployed to the Gulf. He had a child from a previous marriage.

The Chapmans say they hope to find out more from their son's colleagues when they attend a memorial service at his base in Germany early next month.




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