Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Six Killed as Troops Stood By

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Six Killed as Troops Stood By

Article excerpt

Byline: By Chloe Griffiths

Six military policemen murdered by an Iraqi mob, were left to their fate ( yet Army reinforcements were only hundreds of yards away.

It has emerged that a commander on the ground knew Corporals Paul Long, of South Shields, Simon Miller, of Washington, and four colleagues, were trapped at an Iraqi prison, yet "no efforts were made to assist them".

The three were members of a team of six Royal Military Police who had been training Iraqi police in Majar al Kabir when a 1,000-strong mob, enraged by a previous house-to-house search carried out by the Parachute Regiment, turned on them.

They took refuge in a police station where they reportedly held out for two hours before they were overwhelmed and slaughtered.

The killing, in June 2003, was the biggest single loss of life to hostile forces by the British Army since the Falklands.

Now documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal reinforcements were posted just a few hundred yards away.

They also showed a British officer on the outskirts of the town was told the soliders were still alive, yet decided not to send soldiers in.

The papers also reveal that the information was deliberately kept from the men's families, who were wrongly left to believe that the Army knew nothing of the Redcaps' plight until after they had been murdered.

Relatives of the six murdered RMPs ( which also included Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, Cpl Russ Aston, L-Cpl Ben Hyde and L-Cpl Tom Keys ( were horrified by the news yesterday.

Cpl Long's brother Byron, 21, of Bamford Walk, South Shields told of his shock and disappointment when The Journal broke the news to him.

He said: "The thought of an officer knowing what was going on and not doing anything to save them just sickens me. It's just unbelievable.

"This guy had their lives in his hands. There should be people in power who can be trusted with their men's lives.

"We are only finding out the truth in dribs and drabs and all to late. We want to know what should have been done." Two patrols of the Parachute Regiment were attacked at a similar time and had staged a two-hour fighting retreat, leaving at least 100 Iraqis dead. …

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