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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007, 14:39 GMT
Iraq inquest coroner loses job
Andrew Walker
Andrew Walker's contract will end in June of this year
A coroner who demanded the release of a cockpit video showing a US plane attacking a British convoy in Iraq will not have his contract renewed.

Andrew Walker criticised the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for failing to clear the video to be shown at an inquest.

Mr Walker made the comments at a hearing into the death of Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull 25, from Berks, who died in the 2003 incident.

The Oxford assistant deputy coroner is one of three who are losing their jobs.

It is understood Mr Walker's contract will end in June of this year, following the expected completion of hearings in to a backlog of military inquests in Oxford.

No decisions have been taken on extra resources for the Oxfordshire coroner
Department for Constitutional Affairs

Two other coroners brought in at the same time will also not be asked to continue.

More staff were appointed in Oxford last year by the Department for Constitutional affairs after complaints from service families.

The majority of inquests are held in Oxford because the bodies of service personnel are returned to RAF Brize Norton nearby.

A spokesman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said: "To reduce the backlog of military inquests held in Oxfordshire going back several years, three extra coroners were appointed in 2005.

'Monitoring progress'

"Sir Richard Curtis was appointed until December last year and heard six inquests.

"Selena Lynch and Andrew Walker have heard most of the 85 inquests identified as in the backlog.

"The government believes that these extra resources can complete all 85 inquests by May 2007.

"No decisions have been taken on extra resources for the Oxfordshire coroner beyond that date, but the government is monitoring progress very closely."

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