Grieving mum says MoD are scapegoating

A DEAD soldier's grieving mother has urged military bosses not to make a British serviceman a “scapegoat” for her son's death.

A DEAD soldier's grieving mother has urged military bosses not to make a British serviceman a “scapegoat” for her son's death.

Lorraine McClure, whose 19-year-old son Aaron died in a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan, said prosecuting an air controller over the triple-death tragedy would only cover up serious failings in the system.

Private McClure from Marlow Road, Ipswich and Ptes John Thrumble, 21, from Mayland, near Maldon, and Robert Foster, 19, from Harlow, died when an F-15 jet dropped a bomb on them while trying to end a Taliban ambush.

It was initially thought it had been an American blunder which caused the tragedy last August, but it has now emerged the families of the dead soldiers have been told it could have been the error of a British air controller.

An investigation headed by defence chiefs has been carried out into the British soldier's involvement and a decision is expected over any prosecution.

But Mrs McClure said she believed a prosecution against the controller would be the easy way out for the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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She said: “I do not think it would be right at all. The MoD is making him a scapegoat.

“I do not understand how they can blame the one individual for what has happened.

“To put that blame on one person is not right. They have to change the system they are using. It is not working and they should have been looking into it a long time ago - not just now.”

Mrs McClure, who is still waiting for the date of her son's inquest to be set, said the air controller did not need further punishment.

“The guy has suffered enough,” she said. “He has a lifetime of having to deal with what has happened as well as the families who have lost.

“I think it is the easy way out for them (MoD). They have had so much criticism already and the last thing they want is more criticism on their heads - that is my view.”

Pearl Thumble, mother of John, has also spoken out about blaming the British soldier for the tragedy.

She said: “How can one man be responsible for a multi-million pound killing machine?”

The MOD said the Royal Military Police's investigation into the deaths of the three soldiers had concluded and had been passed to the chain of command for their consideration.

If the matter is referred to the Army Prosecuting Authority, it will then consider what, if any, action is to be taken.