Sussex mother demands truth over soldier 'sniper death'

Image caption,
L/Cpl Pritchard died in Sangin in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

The mother of a soldier who was killed by a British sniper in a friendly fire incident said the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not tell her the full truth.

L/Cpl Michael Pritchard, of Sussex, died in Sangin, central Helmand province, Afghanistan in December.

Helen Perry said she was told it was friendly fire but only found out by chance he had been shot by a sniper, despite requests for more details.

The MoD said it was unable to comment until after the inquest.

Mrs Perry said after months of trying to get more information from the MoD it was during a conversation with an army padre at a medals ceremony for her son's regiment she was told that he was killed by a sniper.

'Excuse after excuse'

She added: "It was at the buffet reception when we were circulating and chatting to people we found out exactly happened, that Michael had been targeted and shot by a British sniper.

"I kind of went into freefall after that.

"I'm very angry with the MoD for keeping this from us, for making excuse after excuse after excuse."

Mrs Perry said: "It's been unbearable hell. Wondering, what if and how, and not knowing is just terrible.

"No matter how painful the truth is we'd much rather have the truth than not knowing. It's just killing us slowly."

Following the discovery, Mrs Perry said she met Army officials who confirmed he had been shot by a sniper who was unaware that British troops were in the area because of a problem with his radio.

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said: "I'm absolutely determined to support Mrs Perry and the family to ensure that she gets the absolute complete facts from the MoD into exactly how her son died."

L/Cpl Pritchard, who was born in Kent but lived in Eastbourne, served with the Royal Military Police regiment and was buried at Ocklynge Cemetery in February.

The MoD said his death was currently being investigated by the Royal Military Police.

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