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US rejects ruling on UK soldier
Date: Monday, March 19 2007

US rejects ruling on UK soldier

Four other soldiers were injured in the attack near Basra

Susan Hull reaction

The US State Department has rejected a coroner's conclusion that the "friendly fire" death of a British soldier in Iraq was unlawful and a criminal act.

Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25, died near Basra on 28 March 2003 when a US pilot fired on his tank convoy.

US spokesman Sean McCormack said it was a "tragedy" during a time of war.

The coroner was critical of US failure to send witnesses to the inquest but the Pentagon said he had access to most information from its own inquiry.

Speaking at a State Department briefing in Washington, Mr McCormack said: "Clearly we don't agree with the assessment. What we have here is a tragedy that occurred during a time of war.

"We have conducted an investigation into the matter - our military has - they have come to their own conclusions.

"We certainly would not agree with any conclusion that categorised this as a criminal act."

Recording a narrative verdict, Oxford assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker said L/Cpl Hull's death was "entirely avoidable".

"It was unlawful because there was no lawful reason for it and in that respect it was criminal," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/03/16 18:13:26 GMT


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