27/04/2006

No charges over British soldier death

No charges will be brought over the death of Sergeant Steven Roberts and Iraqi civilian Zaher Zaher, the Attorney General has ruled.

Lord Goldsmith said that there was "insufficient evidence" to continue with a criminal case.

Sgt Roberts, 33, a tank commander with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was shot during a riot in a town near Basra in March 2003.

Mr Zaher, an unarmed Iraqi civilian, was also killed during the same incident.

It later emerged that Sgt Roberts had been ordered to give up his body armour, because of shortages, before he was shot.

The Metropolitan Police investigated both deaths after Lord Goldsmith removed the investigation from the control of the Army.

Lord Goldsmith said that there was no suggestion that the chain of command had acted unlawfully. However, he said that there should have been an earlier full investigation.

In a statement, Sgt Roberts' widow Samantha said: "I accept the decision taken by the prosecuting authorities and I accept that this decision is based on their careful scrutiny of the evidence.

"The fact remains that three years after my husband's death, I know little more about how he came to meet his death than I did when I was first told that he had been killed.

"I can only hope that the Coroner will now conduct an inquest into the circumstances of Steve's death with full access to the evidence that has been gathered by the prosecuting authorities."

(KMcA/CD)








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