Red Caps’ families to sue MoD

The Ministry of Defence is facing legal action from the families of six Red Caps killed in Iraq.

The relatives have accused the Army of denying them a public inquiry into the deaths and insist that legal action is the only way to find out how the soldiers died.

The families plan to sue the MoD for corporate manslaughter, claiming the military policemen died as a result of a string of avoidable blunders. They are angry that an internal inquiry into the deaths will be heard in secret.

Tony Hamilton-Jewell, brother of victim Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, told The Mirror: “Going to court is the last thing we thought we’d have to do. But as every other route has failed it’s our last resort to get the truth out of the MoD.

“The Army has locked us out of everything we’ve a right to know. They’ve lied to us. We’ve trusted them for too long and that trust has been betrayed.”

It is believed to be the first time such an action has been brought against the MoD and the families could receive millions in compensation if their legal bid is successful. Officers could be jailed if found criminally negligent.

Military policemen Sergeant Hamilton- Jewell, Corporals Russell Aston, 30, Paul Long, 24, and Simon Miller, 21, and Lance Corporals Ben Hyde, 23, and Thomas Keys, 20, were killed in a police station in Majar el-Kabir, 120 miles north of Basra, after being surrounded by more than 400 protesting Iraqis.

The Red Caps, from 156 Provost Company, were in the country to train Iraqi police and are reported to have been left without sufficient protection, ammunition or equipment.

The Times reported today that the Red Caps are unlikely to receive posthumous bravery medals because they may not have fired their guns.

Defence secretary Geoff Hoon has rejected their calls for a public inquiry into the killings. He was told last week by the families that they were taking legal advice and had approached leading QC Michael Mansfield to fight their case in the High Court.

Meanwhile, the families of 13 Iraqis killed in error by British troops are demanding improved compensation and an inquiry into the deaths.