England

No charges over Sussex soldier's 'friendly fire' death

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

No charges are to be brought over the death of a soldier who was killed in a "friendly fire" incident, the Ministry of Defence has said.

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

The family were told it was friendly fire, but only found out by chance he had been shot by a British sniper.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an inquest would now be carried out.

He added: "The Service Prosecuting Authority has reviewed the case into the death of L/Cpl Michael Pritchard and has decided no charges should be brought.

"An inquest into his death will be conducted and it would be inappropriate to comment further until the coroner has completed this.

"We remain in contact with his family as we have throughout the investigation and our thoughts are with her and the family at this difficult time."

Internet campaign

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

His mother, Helen Perry, said after months of trying to get more information from the MoD about his death she was told during a conversation with an Army padre at a medals ceremony that her son was killed by a sniper.

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.

In September L/Cpl Pritchard's sister, Katie, started an internet campaign on the social networking site Facebook calling for more information about the incident in 2009.

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