Mother of murder victim puts questions to Blair
The mother of murdered north Belfast teenager Peter McBride has
put a number of questions to British Prime Minister Tony Blair
regarding the fate of the two soldiers convicted of murdering her
son. In the letter, Jean McBride has challenged the Prime
Minister to clarify the following:
1) To confirm whether Scots Guards Mark Wright and James Fisher,
currently seconded to the Irish Guards regiment, are presently
serving with that regiment in and around the city of Basra in
2) To clarify whether the Ministry of Defence regards two
convicted murderers as suitable for combat duty in Basra given
the very real danger of repetition of the events that led to the
murder of Peter?
3) The same alleged 'exceptional circumstances' apply in Basra as
in Belfast, ie. the "security situation is tense" and "the
regiment has recently suffered fatalities"; would the Prime
Minister therefore regard it as an 'exceptional circumstance' if
either Wright or Fisher were to shoot an unarmed Iraqi child in
the back, as they did with Peter?
4) The most senior officer in the British Army, General Mike
Jackson, sat on the Army Board that ruled that the retention in
the army of the soldiers who shot my son was "desirable". Is
Prime Minister concerned that this will send a clear message to
British soldiers in Iraq that the murder of unarmed civilians at
checkpoints is acceptable?
Commenting on the letter, Jean McBride said: "When the Ministry
of Defence tried to justify allowing the two soldiers who
murdered Peter to remain on they promised us that there was no
danger of repetition and that neither would be posted here again.
If the situation on the New Lodge was so tense in 1992 that
murder could be excused, what is it like in Basra today? God help
the civilian population of Basra. Their so-called 'liberators'
include convicted murderers of children."
The Army Board decision to retain the soldiers convicted of the
murder of Peter McBride is currently the subject of a legal
challenge in the Appeal Court. Following an oral hearing earlier
this year, the three appeal court judges have recently asked both
parties to submit further arguments.