Grieving Eastbourne mum writes to Prime Minister over ‘witch-hunts’

Michael Pritchard. ENGSUS00120120514152420
Michael Pritchard. ENGSUS00120120514152420
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The Eastbourne mother of a soldier who died on active service in Afghanistan has written to David Cameron demanding he ends legal “witch-hunts” against British veterans wrongly accused of war crimes.

Helen Perry’s son Michael Pritchard, 22, died when he was accidentally shot by his own side in Sangin on December 20 2009.

Ms Perry is one of four mothers of servicemen killed in action who have sent the Prime Minister an open letter calling for him to stop legal aid-funded lawyers persecuting soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The women say the law firms’ “repeated hounding” of veterans as they pursue compensation claims based on false misconduct reports are “immoral”.

They wrote, “These brave men and women fought hard for Britain. They made the ultimate sacrifice for YOU and our country but now the soldiers fortunate enough to survive are being thrown to the wolves by these outrageous and ridiculous historic claims.”

The mothers say Britain’s proud military history is “being dragged through the mud and trashed for the benefit of a disgusting compensation culture” and warn the PM he must step in to protect the mental well-being of loyal veterans and stop the erosion of the morale of those still serving.

Mrs Perry has the backing of Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell who has also written to the Prime Minister.

In the letter Mrs Ansell said, “One of the signatories, Ms Perry, is a constituent of mine, and I am writing to you in order to express my support for the sentiments which she expressed so eloquently in her letter.

“It is only right the courageous soldiers who fight so valiantly, and sacrifice so much, for our country, are respected, honoured and protected appropriately on their return. It is perverse that those who are prepared to make the final sacrifice for our country, risk state-funded legal attacks and incarceration for actions taken under the unimaginable hardships, stresses and horrors of war.

“If we do nothing to arrest this worrying trend, we risk undermining the morale, confidence and efficacy of our armed forces, and may cause irreparable damage to the mutual trust shared between Her Majesty’s Government, and each and every service personnel in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

“I urge you, Prime Minister, to address this wrong, and to send a loud, clear message to our soldiers: that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”

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