|US rules of war blamed for 'friendly fire' death
By Matthew Moore and PA
Last Updated: 5:10pm GMT 12/03/2007
A British soldier killed by "friendly fire" from US warplanes in Iraq would not have died if the Americans had been following British rules of engagement, his inquest heard today.
L/Cpl Matty Hull died after American pilots mistook a British tank convoy near Basra for Iraqi troops during the 2003 invasion.
Today his inquest was told that their error would have been spotted under the strict guidelines which govern when British pilots can engage the enemy.
British pilots must read back to their air controllers the location and coordinates of their target, their direction of attack and the location of friendly forces in relation to the target, before they can open fire.
The American military is thought to have no such rules in place.
Asked whether the tragedy would have occurred if the A-10 pilots had followed the British procedures, Stuart Matthews, a British Forward Air Controller (FAC), said: "I don't".
The inquest into L/Cpl Hull's death re-opened today after being suspended following the emergence of a classified US pit recording of the two planes opening fire.
Despite high-level pressure on the US to start co-operating with the inquiry, it emerged today that the Pentagon was still refusing to provide information requested by the coroner and the Ministry of Defence.
Requests for details of the US rules of engagement, the training records of the pilots, and a detailed explanation of the pit recording of had been turned down, the MoD's lawyers told the coroner.
Only a heavily edited copy of the American investigation of the incident has been released, the inquest was told.
L/Cpl Hull, 25, from Windsor, Berkshire, was killed and four other members of the Household Cavalry Regiment were injured in the attack near Basra on March 28, 2003.