Soldier’s bereft mum calls for MoD apology

Michael Pritchard. ENGSUS00120120514152420
Michael Pritchard. ENGSUS00120120514152420

The mother of an Eastbourne soldier who was killed by friendly fire from an army sniper while serving in Afghanistan has renewed calls for an apology from the MoD after a book about the incident revealed fresh allegations about the 2009 incident.

Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard, 22, died after being incorrectly identified as an insurgent and shot. A 2012 inquest found his death was avoidable and this week his mother Helen Perry renewed her call for an apology after Major Richard Streatfeild wrote a book about his life in the Army. Mr Streatfeild, who was a high ranking officer in command of Michael at the time, criticised the equipment provided to army personnel.

Ms Perry, who is working with specialist armed forces lawyers at MPH Solicitors, part of the Irwin Mitchell Group, as she seeks an apology for what happened, said hearing about the incident again and the allegations that a lack of basic equipment is putting soldiers at risk makes her even more frustrated at the lack of apology from the MoD.

She added, “We were originally led to believe he died in a hard-fought battle, not singled out and shot by a British sniper. Although there has been an inquest which gave us some answers, we believe we were treated very unfairly by the MoD and it worries me that other lives may be put in danger because if they aren’t telling immediate families what is happening it raises questions about how they can learn from their mistakes.”

Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd has also requested a public apology from the MoD over the soldier’s death.

An MoD spokesman said since 2003 the Urgent Operational Requirements process has delivered more than £5.8bn worth of world-class equipment to the frontline quickly, adding, “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Lance Corporal Michael Pritchard. Every conceivable effort is made to give bereaved families the clarity they deserve when investigating such tragic event. The circumstances which led to L Cpl Pritchard’s tragic death were fully investigated; as a result, operating procedures used in Afghanistan were changed. The Armed Forces’ policy is to constantly review equipment requirements to ensure they are best placed to meet the myriad threats faced on operations.”