‘There is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of and his name is Tony Blair, the world’s worst terrorist.’
Sarah O’Connor, whose brother, 38-year-old Sergeant Bob O’Connor, was killed in 2005, was one of the family members of the British soldiers killed in Iraq speaking at a press conference yesterday after the release of the Chilcot Report.
Matthew Jury, solicitor for the families, said: ‘Today is the day the families should be at the forefront of everybody’s minds, but so too should be the thousands of British soldiers wounded in Iraq, the tens of thousands of British veterans who served there and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died during the conflict and since.’
Reg Keys, father of 20-year-old Lance Corporal Tom Keys, who was killed in 2003, said: ‘When I look at Iraq and what’s on the TV screens today, with the 200-plus deaths that it faced the other day, I can only conclude that unfortunately and sadly, my son died in vain.’
A journalist asked: ‘What are your feelings today?’
Sarah O’Connor replied: ‘Anger – that feeling, that eleven-and-a-half years that I’ve worked for. I’ve gone back to that time, when I learnt that my brother had been killed and there is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of. And his name is Tony Blair, the world’s worst terrorist.’
Asked if they thought Blair believed what he said to justify the war, Reg Keys replied: ‘I don’t think Mr Blair believed what he said, I think he was deliberately misleading and that becomes quite evident from the 150 page summary.’
Another said: ‘We’ve talked for a long time about the legality of the decision to go to war and one of the things within that legal advice was you can’t go to war for regime change.
‘You’ve just read out that he’s said, “I got rid of Saddam”. He’s said it over and over, out of his own mouth he condemns himself, we’ve only ever needed evidence and hopefully that’s what this is.’
Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Fusilier Gordon Gentle was killed in 2004, said: ‘Everything we’ve said from the start has actually come out today. And I think he (Blair) thought they are going to give up and walk away.’
Asked: ‘What would you say to him if he was here?’
Rose Gentle replied: ‘Why did you kill my son? Because I hold him responsible for killing my son.’
The families are considering taking legal action against Blair.