The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) yesterday condemned the British state’s refusal to prosecute US Marines over the ‘unlawful killing’ of ITN journalist Terry Lloyd in Iraq in March.
At the inquest in October 2006, the coroner said the troops shot Lloyd in the head while he was in a makeshift ambulance, having already been hurt in crossfire.
Lloyd’s interpreter Hussein Osman was also killed and his cameraman Fred Nerac is missing, believed dead, following the shooting.
The NUJ said in a statement that it was ‘appalled by a decision from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today (28/7) not to proceed with a prosecution over the shooting’ of Lloyd.
The NUJ statement continued: ‘A 2006 inquest into Terry’s death found that he was killed by a bullet to the head from an M63 machine gun fired by US Marines.
‘The NUJ was strongly critical of the US authorities at the time of the inquest and the contempt they showed for the British legal process.
‘They failed to co-operate with the inquest, refusing to send witnesses and editing video material of the shooting.’
Making yesterday’s announcement, the head of the Counter Terrorism Division at the CPS, Sue Hemming, claimed: ‘There is insufficient evidence at the current time to establish to the criminal standard the identity of the person who fired the bullet that killed Mr Lloyd.
‘There is also insufficient evidence in relation to the chain of command to establish if there was any person responsible for the chain of events that led to the death of Mr Lloyd.’
Commenting on yesterday’s decision, NUJ General Secretary, Jeremy Dear, said: ‘The CPS should be ashamed of itself for backing away from this issue so completely.
‘To suggest that Mr Lloyd was in some way responsible for his own situation by not wearing a helmet or bullet proof vest is insulting.
‘He had received injuries from both Iraqi and American bullets but the fatal shot came from an American soldier whilst Terry was being transported in a makeshift ambulance.
‘Terry was killed because he was trying to do his job.
‘The CPS has failed to secure justice for Terry, his family or his colleagues.
‘It’s disgraceful that the CPS has shied away from taking action in this case.’
Hemming concluded that: ‘Having considered all the evidence gathered by UK Authorities and the evidence from the US, together with advice from counsel, we have decided there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution.
‘I understand that this will be very upsetting news for the family and friends of Mr Lloyd but I can reassure them that every care was taken in pursuing lines of inquiry and reviewing the evidence.’
An ITN statement said: ‘Coroner Andrew Walker concluded just under two years ago that Terry Lloyd was unlawfully killed by American troops and ITN has done everything it could to try and ensure Terry’s killer is brought to justice.
‘We are disappointed that the CPS has decided they cannot take this matter further, and that despite the coroner’s call on the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions to demand that the Americans bring the perpetrator of a possible war crime before a British court of law, the US authorities remain un-cooperative.’