In a historic move, the families of four British soldiers who were killed on active duty in Iraq, have won the latest round in their fight, to sue the Ministry of Defence for negligence and inadequate equipment. Which they believe was the cause of the soldier’s death. The Court of Appeal said the family could pursue damages following a decision by three judges at a hearing in London.
The case involves one soldier Corporal Stephen Allbutt, of Sneyd Green in Stoke-on-Trent, who was killed in March 2003 after a Challenger 2 tank was hit by another British Challenger 2 tank during friendly fire. Allbutt's widow, Debi told SKY News “the tank was not equipped with sufficient technology to protect them against the risk of friendly fire, nor had they received adequate vehicle recognition training”.
Another three soldiers involved in that case -Pte Phillip Hewett, 21, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, Pte Lee Ellis, 23, of Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, and Lance Cpl Kirk Redpath, 22, of Romford, east London, all died when their Snatch Land Rovers was blown up during attacks on separate occasions. The families of the three soldiers claim the men carried out high risk patrols in "poorly armoured" vehicles which were unsuitable for the jobs
A spokesperson from the law firm Leigh Day & Co, which is representing the family of Corporal Allbutt said: "British troops should at the very least have adequate equipment and training, ranging from the very basic such as a GPS devices, to sophisticated satellite tracker systems, which the Americans had available to them.
An MoD spokesman said in a statement: "Our thoughts and concerns remain with those that were injured and the families of those that sadly lost their lives. "We are considering the judgement by the Court of Appeal and as this is likely to be subject to further legal action it would be inappropriate for us to comment further."
Written and presented by Ann Salter