Scotland

Linda Norgrove's father says no-one to blame for death

The father of Scottish aid worker Linda Norgrove has said he does not blame anyone for his daughter's death.

The 36-year-old aid worker, from Lewis, was kidnapped in Afghanistan and died during a failed rescue attempt on 8 October last year.

Her father, John Norgrove also told BBC Radio 5 Live that the first he knew of the rescue bid was when it failed.

An inquest into the circumstances surrounding Ms Norgrove's death is due to take place in the coming weeks.

Ms Norgrove, who was employed by the US aid group DAI, was seized in the Dewagal valley in the Kunar province in Afghanistan on 26 September.

However, she was killed by a grenade thrown by a US soldier during an attempt to free her.

'Difficult question'

Mr Norgrove said: "We don't hold anyone responsible really.

"I don't think it's a question of responsibility. Nobody deliberately intended to kill Linda.

"It was brave soldiers, going in there in very difficult circumstances trying to mount a rescue and unfortunately it went wrong. There's no blame involved here."

Mr Norgrove also said that had his daughter been an American hostage, it was likely her family would have had input into the decision to mount a rescue attempt.

Image caption Linda Norgrove was kidnapped in an ambush and died weeks later, during a rescue attempt

He said: "Americans have a different system. I think in America, my understanding is the family have to give their permission for a rescue attempt to be mounted. In the UK, the government take that decision."

Mr Norgrove said that up to 1,000 American and Afghan troops had mobilised in the area in the hours following his daughter's kidnap and had put a cordon round the entire valley.

He said: "It would have been a huge climbdown for them to stand down all those troops, admit that they had failed and then pay a ransom and it would have been a tremendous public relations success for the kidnappers for that to happen."

Mrs Norgrove also confirmed that when the rescue attempt failed, the family were initially told it was a suicide bomb that had killed their daughter.

It was two days later that the couple were told she had most likely died as the result of a grenade thrown by an American soldier.

Grenade thrown

The operation to rescue Linda Norgrove took place during the night, in total darkness.

Rescue forces landed on a near-vertical incline on an 8,000ft mountain to access the compound where the aid worker was being held.

According to military records, the rescue team came under attack as soon as they left their helicopter. As they progressed towards the kidnappers, a soldier threw the grenade which killed Ms Norgrove. The action all took place in less than a minute.

Mr Norgrove was asked what he would have said had he been asked for his view on whether to push ahead with a rescue attempt to free his daughter.

He said: "It's a difficult question to answer just now.

"I think what we would have done would be to ask for more information. I think on the information that we had at the time, it would be difficult to say yes or no."

He added: "It's always helpful I think to try and look at it from other people's perspective, and from the government's perspective, they're trying to stop a rash of kidnappings so the very worst thing they can do is to pay ransoms to kidnappers to encourage more."

An inquest into Linda Norgrove's death was opened and adjourned by Wiltshire coroner David Ridley in Salisbury in October.

It is due to reopen in the coming weeks.

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