Mum of murdered Redcap ‘just wants the truth’

PAT LONG ... just wants to know the truth about the death of her Redcap son Paul.
PAT LONG ... just wants to know the truth about the death of her Redcap son Paul.

THE mother of a South Tyneside soldier killed by an armed mob in Iraq hopes judges will listen to her plea for a new independent inquiry into his death.

Pat Long is seeking leave from the High Court for a new inquiry into how her Royal Military Policeman son Paul, 24, and five other Redcaps died at the hands of a mob 11 years ago.

The 62-year-old from Hebburn says all the formal inquiries so far, including an inquest, have failed to get to the bottom of how mistakes that led to the deaths were made, and who was responsible for them.

Ministry of Defence lawyers are arguing the claim should be dismissed, as inquiries and internal Army investigations, including a board of inquiry, have already taken place, as well as a coroner’s inquest.

The MoD also argues there has been “undue delay” in launching the challenge, and to grant a fresh inquiry now would be detrimental to good administration.

Outside court, Mrs Long said: “It has taken a long time to get here. I just hope we get what we are fighting for.

“It is still very raw. It is as if it was yesterday. The thing is, I gave birth to him but I never got a chance to say goodbye.”

She said in a written statement to the court: “Nothing can bring my Paul back but I do not want anyone else to have to experience what I have experienced over the past 10 years.

“It seems that the investigations that have taken place up to now have only shown that mistakes were made and that Paul and the others may have died needlessly.

“I hope that an investigation that comes from these proceedings will mean that lessons will be learned such that this sort of tragedy never happens again.”

Her solicitor Phil Shiner, from law firm Public Interest Lawyers, said: “My client wants full public accountability for the systemic issues at the heart of this tragic incident.

“Her son was a brave young man who died for his country and his death should at least lead to lessons learned so others won’t die in similar circumstances.”

Mrs Long’s partner, Robert, 71, who accompanied her to court, said: “It has affected her and her family a terrible amount.

“It will never go away, ever. She just wants the truth, that is what she wants.”