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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
War bereaved calls Blair to court
Sgt Les Hehir and his children
Sgt Les Hehir left behind a wife and two sons
The mother-in-law of a soldier killed in Iraq has named Tony Blair as a witness after refusing to pay her income tax in protest at the Iraq war.

Her son-in-law Sgt Les Hehir, 34, of Poole, Dorset, died in a helicopter crash near the Kuwait border in 2003.

Pat Blackburn, from Dorchester, has refused to pay 15,000 and has been summoned to appear in court on 21 June.

In a handwritten note, Mr Blair said Sgt Hehir had died in a cause the "world will be grateful for".

It's not that I can't pay, it's that I'm not going to pay
Pat Blackburn

But Mrs Blackburn put down the Prime Minister's name when asked in court forms who she would be calling as a witness to back her case over the non-payment.

She has accused Mr Blair and the US President of authorising the war "to boost both of your political egos and ambitions".

She has also demanded evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Money held

But in Mr Blair's reply on 21 March, 2003, he wrote: ""The removal of Saddam Hussein will make Iraq, the region and the wider world a safer and better place.

"In the next few months, we will present the evidence of both the hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed by him in Iraq and of his weapons programme."

It continued: "I do not think your son-in-law died in vain but in a cause that in future times the world will be grateful for." Mrs Blackburn is due to appear at Weymouth County Court on 21 June and has pledged to represent herself.

"I don't want to go to jail," she said.

"This money has been held by a stakeholder. It's not that I can't pay, it's that I'm not going to pay."

Sgt Hehir, who died along with seven other British service personnel, left a wife, Sharon, and two sons, Oliver, now aged seven, and William, now aged five.

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