The widow of a British soldier killed by US “friendly fire” said she felt sick when she watched a cockpit video showing the moment of her husband’s death. She had previously been refused access to the classified footage, which shows Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull’s convoy being hit by an American A-10 tankbuster aircraft.
“We’re in jail dude,” one of the US pilots says after realising the mistake. “God dammit,” replies the other pilot, who had opened fire.
But the video was leaked to the Sun newspaper, and the US relented and gave permission for it to be shown at L/Cpl Hull’s inquest.
The soldier’s widow Susan, 30, of Windsor, Berkshire, said she “felt sick” when she at long last viewed the video and heard the American pilots apparently joking about hitting her husband’s convoy.
After realising they had made a terrible mistake, the pilots were “more concerned for themselves than their victims”, she added.
She told the Sun: “I feel really relieved at being able to watch this footage for the first time. Not knowing is worse than knowing sometimes.
“I am looking at the last moments of Matty’s life – the life of an exceptional man, cut short by sheer and utter incompetence. Thankfully it’s not graphic in any way, but it is shocking because of the pilots’ stupidity.”
Defence Secretary Des Browne said showing the video to the inquest was “the right thing to do”.
His department had initially told L/Cpl Hull’s family the recording did not exist. But it found its way into the hands of Oxford coroner Andrew Walker, who is hearing the inquest into the 25-year-old soldier’s death.