Legal breakthrough for mum of murdered Red Cap soldier

Pat Long - the mum of Cpl Paul Long - will have her case heard in the Royal Courts of Justice as she fights for an single independent inquiry

Pat Long the mother of Paul Long
Pat Long the mother of Paul Long

The mother of a murdered Red Cap soldier has been handed a breakthrough in her 10-year fight for justice.

Pat Long has tirelessly fought for a single independent inquiry into the death of her son Cpl Paul Long, who was murdered by an Iraqi mob while on patrol in 2003.

An inquest in 2006 was told the 24-year-old, of Hebburn, South Tyneside, and five other soldiers were not properly equipped with communication devices and had a shortage of ammunition.

Last year Pat, who has two other children Bryon, 29, and Maria, 39, launched a bid for a judicial review but it was denied on the grounds there was not enough new evidence had emerged.

Now the 61-year-old is set to have her case heard in the Royal Courts of Justice where the country’s top judges will decide if a judicial review should take place. When approached for comment, Pat said she did “not want to comment ahead of the hearing”.

However, she confirmed she had been “granted a day and a half in the Royal Courts of Justice on the nearest available date after March 1”. It’s understood Pat has launched the legal action alone while loved ones of the other murdered Red Cap soldiers consider their stance.

A source said: “Pat has been calling for a public inquiry ever since her son was murdered in 2003. The Ministry of Defence think there is not enough new evidence to warrant a new inquiry and they don’t see the value in it.

“No-one had ever been brought to justice and Mrs Long is desperate for a single public inquiry. She’s been through hell but she’s fighting for her boy, she’s doing it alone and she won’t stop.”

Cpl Long and five other Royal Military Police officers were killed by a mob in June 2003, including Cpl Simon Miller, 21, of Washington. Cpl Long was married for only a few months with a baby son and left for Iraq on Valentine’s Day 2003.

The men had been training local Iraqi officers when the police station came under attack.

An inquest in March 2006 heard that some of their bodies were found riddled with bullets, while others had marks that suggested they had been dragged, tied up or beaten with rifles.

The hearing was told that the Red Caps were not equipped with Iridium satellite telephones to call for help, despite a direct order from their commanding officer that all units leaving base must carry one. This was due to a shortage of supplies, the hearing heard.

Oxfordshire Coroner Nicholas Gardiner recorded a narrative verdict of unlawful killing, saying the six soldiers should have been better equipped but their deaths could not have been avoided.

A number of inquiries have take place into their deaths but no-one has ever been brought to justice over their brutal murders.

In October 2011, two Iraqi men were cleared by Baghdad’s criminal court of murdering the Red Caps due to lack of evidence.

The other Red Caps who died with Cpl Long were L/Cpl Benjamin Hyde, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire; Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, of Chessington, Surrey; Cpl Russell Aston, 30 of Swadlincote, Derbyshire; L/Cpl Tom Keys, 20, from Bala, North Wales. They were all from 156 Provost Company, based at Goojerat Barracks in Colchester, Essex.

A spokeswoman for the MoD today said: “It would be inappropriate to comment ahead of any further legal proceedings.”

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