14/03/2006

Inquest into Red Cap deaths begins

An inquest has been opened into the deaths of six British soldiers killed in southern Iraq in 2003.

The six Royal Military Police soldiers were killed when a mob attacked a police station in the town of Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.

The men were: Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Chessington, Surrey; Cpl Russell Aston, 30, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire; Cpl Paul Long, 24, from Colchester; Cpl Simon Miller, 21, from Tyne & Wear; L/Cpl Benjamin McGowan Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire; and L/Cpl Tom Keys, 20, from Bala, Wales.

An inquiry conducted by the Ministry of Defence concluded that there was no conclusive evidence that the six deaths could have been prevented.

However, there have been allegations that the soldiers were poorly equipped and that communication in the area at the time of the attack was poor.

The inquest, which is being held in Oxford, is expected to last for several weeks.

(KMcA/GB)


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