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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 January, 2004, 12:04 GMT
'Tom would stick up for anyone'
Tom Hurndall
Tom Hurndall was working as a photo journalist when he was shot
Although Tom Hurndall is often described as a peace activist, he was actually working as an amateur photo journalist when he was shot in Gaza in April 2003.

He had joined protests against the war in Iraq, but his mother Jocelyn has said he was not that political - although he did like to help the underdog.

His family remember the 22-year-old as someone who squared up to a mugger trying to steal a boy's mobile phone near his home in Tufnell Park, north London.

His sister Sophie told the BBC: "Tom was somebody who made everybody laugh, he was intelligent, witty, caring - the kind of person who was always sticking up for anybody who was in trouble."

A photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University, he had travelled to Iraq in February 2003 as an amateur photo-journalist.

But Sophie later said he had been unable to get a visa as a photographer and the only way he could get to Baghdad was to go with some British "human shields".

The spirit of Tom was to seek out injustice. You can't take that away from someone
Jocelyn Hurndall
From Baghdad he moved to Jordan where he met the pro-Palestinian group, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), whose members volunteer as buffers between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians.

His family say his diaries show he was clear headed and went with an open mind to Rafah, determined to draw his own conclusions about what was happening to Palestinian civilians.

But he was deeply affected by the sight of a young boy he had photographed being shot in the shoulder.

Eyewitnesses are said to have seen him pulling two Palestinian children to safety in Rafah when he was shot.

He was flown back to the UK where he remained in a vegetative state at the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in Putney, south-west London, until he died there on 14 January 2004.

His mother Jocelyn told the BBC she was extremely proud of her son's decision to go out to Iraq and Gaza.

She said: "He first brought this up in December and, from a mother's perspective, I hoped it might disappear.

"But Tom did a lot of research into the situation over there and he was quite determined to go. So all we could do was warn him of the dangers.

"The spirit of Tom was to seek out injustice. You can't take that away from someone."


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