Page last updated at 20:06 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 21:06 UK

Father wins Iraq inquest review

Corporal Dewi Pritchard
Corporal Dewi Pritchard was travelling in an unarmoured civilian vehicle

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq has won permission to challenge a coroner's decision not to hold a full investigation into his son's death

Anthony Pritchard's son, Corporal Dewi Pritchard, from Bridgend, was killed in Basra in 2003 by gunmen in an ambush.

Last year Mr Pritchard failed in the High Court to seek a judicial review of a coroner's decision not to hold a full investigation.

Three Court of Appeal judges reversed the High Court ruling on Wednesday.

Mr Pritchard had claimed his 35-year-old son was sent out on a "dangerous mission with inadequate equipment and preparation".

The inquest held in October 2005 took two-and-a-half-hours for the Oxfordshire coroner, who conducted all inquests into the deaths of soldiers in Iraq, to rule Cpl Pritchard was unlawfully killed.

Mr Pritchard complained the inquest did not meet the standards of the "right to life" provisions of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case raises an issue of considerable public importance concerning the nature of the investigation... into the death of a British serviceman on active duty abroad
Hugh Tomlinson QC

He wanted a full investigation of all the facts, including why his son, an electronics engineer, was driving an unprotected vehicle along a road with a history of attacks.

The High Court said the case in October 2008 was too long after the original inquest.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, who acted for Mr Pritchard, told the Court of Appeal the delay in going to the High Court was caused by difficulties in arranging legal aid.

He added that the claim had been renewed following a High Court decision that members of the armed forces serving abroad remain subject to the jurisdiction of the UK and the Human Rights Act.

He said: "The case raises an issue of considerable public importance concerning the nature of the investigation which should be conducted into the death of a British serviceman on active duty abroad.

Civilian vehicle

"The issue of the proposed judicial review is of great importance to the claimant.

"He is the father of a soldier who died while on duty in Iraq in circumstances that have left the claimant concerned that more could have been done, by way of equipment and protection, to save his life.

"The claimant has not been able to have these issues properly investigated or ventilated."

Cpl Pritchard, who was married with two children, was serving with 116 Provost Company (Volunteers), Royal Military Police when his unarmoured civilian vehicle was attacked on 23 August 2003.

Two other soldiers were killed at the time.

Speaking after the decision, Mr Pritchard said there was more to come out on his son's death.

"I have got a file of about two inches thick with material concerning it," he said.

"The circumstances of my son's death were very, very suspicious and I have got my reasons for thinking that and I can prove it."



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SEE ALSO
Father in legal bid for dead son
09 Aug 08 |  South East Wales
Iraq widow ups pressure on Hoon
18 Jan 04 |  Wales
Widow calls for soldier protection
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Iraq ambush soldier 'died a hero'
05 Sep 03 |  South East Wales
Soldier's body flown home
01 Sep 03 |  Wales
UK ambush victims named
24 Aug 03 |  UK

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