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Showing for friendly fire video

By James Blake

Updated on 06 February 2007

A British soldier's inquest will be shown the leaked cockpit video into his death.


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The video - leaked to the Sun newspaper and published on its website - "is now in the public domain and that means that it can be used in the Matty Hull inquest", the coroner's officer for Oxford said this morning.

The Ministry of Defence had earlier said the video was the property of the US government and could not be released without its permission.

In the recording, the pilot of one of two US A-10 Thunderbolt jets involved in the attack says, after they realise their mistake: "We're in jail dude". The other pilot, who opened fire, weeps, saying: "God dammit."

The Sun newspaper today published the transcript after obtaining a tape of the recording of the moment that one of the jets launched two devastating attacks on a British armoured convoy, killing Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull.

The Ministry of Defence initially told L/Cpl Hull's family the recording did not exist, but it found its way into the hands of Oxford coroner Andrew Walker, who is hearing the inquest into the soldier's death.

Today the MoD refused to comment on the contents of the videotape. Last week Mr Walker adjourned the inquest in frustration at the MoD's failure to get the permission of the US authorities to use the recording in evidence.

The transcript reveals as many as six errors immediately before the attack near Basra in southern Iraq on March 28, 2003.

On several occasions the pilots, a Major and a Lieutenant Colonel, both believed to be reservists who had never been in action before, say they can see orange panels on top of the armoured vehicles, which were used to identify them as coalition, rather than Iraqi, forces.

However, they convince themselves that the orange panels are enemy rocket launchers. The pilots were in contact with US Marine Corps Forward Air Controllers who were embedded with British ground units.

The pilots were on a mission to destroy Iraqi artillery and rocket launchers dug in 25 miles north of Basra.

L/Cpl Hull, 25, from Windsor, Berkshire, died in the incident and four other members of the Household Cavalry Regiment were injured. Related links:
Iraq reports
The Sun

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