Red Cap families seek fresh inquest
Families of four military policeman killed by a mob in Iraq have written to the Government's chief legal adviser calling for a fresh inquest into their deaths, lawyers have said.
Corporals Russell Aston, 30, and Simon Miller, 21, and Lance Corporals Benjamin McGowan Hyde , 23, and Tom Keys, 20, were killed when a 400-strong mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Iraq in June 2003.
A dossier of new evidence from two former soldiers has been submitted to Attorney General Jeremy Wright in support of a claim that GCHQ intelligence that an attack was imminent and could have been used to prevent the men's deaths.
In April 2006, the Coroner of Oxfordshire concluded the Red Caps, as they became known, had been unlawfully killed and wrote to the Government expressing concern about the lack of ammunition issued to the men, inadequate communications and the road-worthiness of the vehicles they were driving.
Simon McKay, of Petherbridge Bassra Solicitors in Bradford, West Yorkshire, representing the families of the four men, said: "This is new and at times remarkable evidence which begins to piece together the jigsaw of the tragic events in 2003 when the Red Caps were savagely murdered.
"In my opinion the legal test is met to enable the Attorney General to either apply for a new inquest or authorise the families to do so.
"It is essential that issues such as whether the deaths of the men could have been avoided as well as the truth of the circumstances of their murders is put before a proper court of law."
Two other Royal Military Police officers, Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, and Corporal Paul Long, 24, were also killed in the attack, in a region of Iraq deemed particularly hostile.
Fresh evidence comes from two witnesses, a former SAS Lieutenant Colonel, known as Colonel X, and Captain T, the law firm said.
In addition, it has been claimed that four of the Red Caps had been captured by the mob and were later executed by an insurgent called Rufeiq, a known target of the allied forces.
Rufieq was initially believed to have been killed at the Battle of Danny Boy but this was later dismissed.
The evidence of the execution is supported by additional information that the six British servicemen did not die until up to 90 minutes after the original time of death.
John Miller, father of Cpl Miller, said: "This new evidence was withheld from us and I always knew from day one that the Ministry of Defence were complicit in concocting a believable story."
Reg Keys, father of LCpl Keys, said, "I have always been of the belief that the true nature of the events that led to my son's murder and the murder of his colleagues was withheld from the families by the Army and MoD and the families were given a 'sanitised' version.
"The subsequent inquest too had many shortcomings."
Under the Coroners Act 1988 the Attorney General can either apply or authorise an application for a new inquest.