Dad welcomes Supreme Court ruling on Iraq

Mark Thompson holding a photo of his son, Private Kevin Thompson, who died in Iraq.
Mark Thompson holding a photo of his son, Private Kevin Thompson, who died in Iraq.

The father of a soldier killed in Iraq has welcomed this week’s announcement that families can bring damages claims against the government.

The Supreme Court made the ruling on Wednesday, and Mark Thompson, whose 21-year-old son Kevin died in 2007, said the move was “a fantastic result for all the families”.

“It’s good news,” he said. “I have spoken to some of the families and they are overwhelmed with the result.

“It has been a long time getting to this point and a lot of time and stress for the families. When I heard I was over the moon.”

Kevin died after being injured by a bomb in southern Iraq. He was serving as a private with 19 Combat Service Support Battalion, part of 27 Transport Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps.

His vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device at 2am on May 3, 2007.

Kevin died at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham on May 6, 2007 after suffering a stroke following surgery.

Supreme Court justices said families can sue for negligence and also make claims under human rights legislation.

Families started legal action as a result of the deaths of a number of British soldiers following the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Relatives said the Ministry of Defence failed to provide armoured vehicles or equipment which could have saved lives, and should pay compensation.

Their victory at the UK’s highest court follows a hearing in London in February. The decision means that claims can now proceed to trial.

Mr Thompson and his wife Theresa, of Barley Cop Lane, Lancaster, now hope the government will take some responsibility for their son’s death.

“At the moment it’s early days and we have a bit more to find out,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we will win but it sets the ball rolling into finding out what happened.

“At the end of the day we all know we shouldn’t have gone to war in such a rush.

“The door is starting to open now and hopefully the truth will come out and the families who have lost loved ones will be able to rest a bit.

“I have always said that Kevin was flown home too early after his operation and hopefully now I can get my answer. That’s all I want; for someone to admit that.

“Then maybe I can get on a bit and close the door.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission deputy director, legal, Wendy Hewitt said: “The ruling means that human rights protections have been levelled up so that we are no longer expecting our armed forces to fully respect the rights of civilians abroad while not being properly protected themselves.

“This is not about interfering with the way military decisions are made in the field but how everyone serving in the armed forces is given the protections they deserve.”