Soldier cleared for FOURTH time over Iraqi deaths
A decorated former soldier has been exonerated for a fourth time over his involvement in the death of two Iraqi men in 2003.
And he has told how he feels like he has been on trial for the last 12 years trying to clear his name.
Kevin Williams (32), a former sergeant with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was cleared in an inquiry report by Sir George Newman into the deaths of Hassan Abbas Said and Naheem Abdullah which was published on Friday.
Mr Williams, formerly of Nelson and now living in Burnley and who joined the Army at 16 from Primet High School in Colne, has previously been cleared of blame after two military investigations and was also acquitted of Mr Said’s murder at the Old Bailey in 2005.
And this week he spoke out at the lack of support he has received from the Army in the past 12 years.
Mr Williams, who runs an office supplies company, Wil-Supplies, in Harle Syke with partner Rachel Lord, said: “You expect the Army and the Ministry of Defence to support you.
“I was working for them as a professional soldier.
“I was acting on orders.
“I feel as though I am the one who is being punished. I feel as though I have been on trial for 12 years. Despite the fact that I have been cleared every time there has been an inquiry, these allegations have led to me losing two jobs.”
Mr Williams shot Mr Said when he went for the soldier’s rifle while he was being detained following an incident in southern Iraq.
In his report, Sir George found that “excessive force” was used leading to the death of Mr Abdullah but made no similar findings in relation to Mr Said.
He recommended that additional training is given in relation to soldiers’ participation in peacekeeping operations to prevent similar incidents in future.
Mr Williams said: “I’ve been found innocent four times, because that is how many times they have investigated me. I’ve been found to have done nothing wrong.”
After returning to active service following the first investigations, he was hailed as a hero after he helped to save the lives of seven comrades who came under fire from the Taliban when their tank was ditched into a river in Afghanistan.