Dead officer's father to take on ministry

THE FATHER of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has vowed to take legal action against the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Captain James Philippson was Britain s first casualty of the deployment in Afghanistan when he died in June 2006 whilst rescuing ambushed c

THE FATHER of a soldier killed in Afghanistan has vowed to take legal action against the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Captain James Philippson was Britain's first casualty of the deployment in Afghanistan when he died in June 2006 whilst rescuing ambushed colleagues.

In a narrative verdict last month an Oxford coroner ruled that Capt Philippson of St Albans was unlawfully killed.

The MoD had previously admitted vital equipment was sent to Afghanistan 25 days late, arriving after the 29-year-old died in June 2006.


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But an MoD report said poor decision-making played a part in the soldier's death.

After the inquest Armed Forces minister Bob Ainsworth said in a radio interview that the right equipment had been available on the night Capt Philippson died but it was not properly distributed.

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Capt Philippson's father Tony Philippson and St Albans MP Anne Main met Mr Ainsworth on Tuesday to discuss the shifting of blame for James's death onto other members of his patrol instead of onto the lack of equipment.

Mr Philippson of Puddingstone Drive, St Albans, said: "The MoD appears to have chosen to ignore the fact that the coroner made no criticism whatsoever of the members of James's patrol, commending their bravery and courage. It is cynical and shameful for the MoD to seek to avoid responsibility in this way."

He said he had been left with no other option but to instruct solicitors to commence legal action against the MoD. Any damages recovered would be paid in full to the Captain James Philippson Trust that benefits a number of charities including the Army Benevolent Fund.

The decision comes a day after Defence Secretary Des Browne brought a High Court test case asking that strongly-worded criticisms of the MoD be outlawed from inquests on soldiers, where phrases such as "serious failure" could be seen as deciding civil liability.

MP Mrs Main said: "I believe it is vitally important for the families of our servicemen and women to ensure that the verdicts of coroners are not diluted in any way. Their views must be robust and impartial without Government interference.

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