Page last updated at 18:43 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Nimrod family seeking prosecution

Sergeant Ben Knight
The parents of Sgt Ben Knight, 25, have written to the CPS and the HSE

The family of a man who was killed when an RAF Nimrod exploded over Afghanistan are calling for lawyers to consider a criminal prosecution.

A report into the blast, which claimed the lives of 14 servicemen, suggested potential criminality in the conduct of specific named individuals.

Sgt Ben Knight, 25, from Bridgwater in Somerset, died in the crash in 2006.

Sgt Knight's parents have written to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) urging lawyers to take up the case.

'Healthy son'

Graham and Trish Knight have also written to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) calling for an investigation into whether the Ministry of Defence (MoD) should be prosecuted for failing to ensure the airworthiness of the Nimrod.

Graham Knight said: "I think anybody who has had to stand at the end of a telephone and hear a pathologist describe what is left of their son - not their son - but parts of their do want to find out who is responsible for that.

"We had a 25-year-old healthy son, who used to play squash and, to put it bluntly, he ended up as a plastic bag full of bits. That is something which is very hard to cope with."

His father Graham explained why he felt a prosecution was in order

The couple met Armed forces minister Bill Rammell in London on Monday. Mr Rammell said: "My thoughts are with the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragic incident.

"I was pleased to meet again with some of them and pass on my sympathies, listen to their concerns and ensure them that the MoD is determined to learn all possible lessons.

"A full response to the detailed and technical Nimrod Review will be published before Christmas. It would be inappropriate to comment on any legal aspects until our analysis of the Nimrod Review is finalised."

The Nimrod spy plane exploded on 2 September 2006, shortly after undergoing air-to-air refuelling.

The review into the crash by aviation law barrister Charles Haddon-Cave ruled that the incident was preventable and highlighted two chiefs of defence logistics for the part they played in allowing it to happen.

Mr Haddon-Cave criticised 10 individuals - five at the MoD, three at BAE Systems and two at defence technology firm QinetiQ.

The CPS said it had not yet received the letter but would consider the matter in due course.

The HSE received the letter on Monday afternoon and said that it was too soon to comment.

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