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Slain soldiers' relatives fear Iraq Inquiry 'whitewash'

By Joe Nerssessian

Relatives of soldiers killed in the Iraq War arrived in London yesterday as their wait for answers entered its final hours.

Families insisted they had not been told the contents of Sir John Chilcot’s report, which has been seven years in the making.

The former Whitehall mandarin has already said he will not rule on the legality of the war, but will focus on the decision-making that led to it.

But that is unlikely to quell the clamour for some form of legal action against former Prime Minister Tony Blair if, as many expect, he is criticised by Sir John and his panel.

Mark Thompson, whose son, Private Kevin Thompson (21), from Lancaster, died in 2007, said he felt nervous. “We’ve been told nothing,” he added. “It’s nerve-racking. It is going to be very nervous because none of us know what to expect. It’s going to take time to get through it all.”

Some relatives are boycotting the report over fears it will be one-sided. Julia Nicholson, whose son Gary died when his Hercules aircraft was shot down in 2005, said: “I’m not going because it will be a whitewash. Tony Blair has blood on his hands. He will have covered his back and (George) Bush’s back.”

Janice Procter, whose 18-year-old son Private Michael Tench was one of the youngest soldiers killed in the conflict, added: “It’s been horrendous, I’m very apprehensive about this.

“This man (Blair) has put 179 (British) kids to the slaughter, and there’s no justice. It (the report) is not going to give me any closure or comfort.

“I’m not going down on the day. I’m not going to waste two hours of my life reading it.”

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