Wales

Iraq Inquiry: 'My son died in vain' says Reg Keys

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Media captionReg Keys speaks after the Iraq Inquiry report is delivered

Families of those killed in the Iraq War have spoken out following the publication of the seven-year inquiry into the conflict.

Fourteen Welsh servicemen died in the war, among 179 British personnel.

The casualties included 20-year-old L/Cpl Thomas Keys from Llanuwchllyn, near Bala, in Gwynedd.

His father Reg Keys told a media conference: "I can only conclude that unfortunately and sadly, my son died in vain."

He said British forces were "deployed on the basis of a falsehood".

Image caption L/Cpl Thomas Richard Keys

Delivering the findings of the inquiry on Wednesday, Sir John Chilcot said the UK chose to join the invasion before the peaceful options to disarm Iraq had been exhausted.

The inquiry also concluded that circumstances on the legal basis for war were "far from satisfactory".

Responding to the report, the former prime minister Tony Blair said: "Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country."

But the families, speaking after the report was published, said they "reserved the right" to press their case in the courts against those criticised by the inquiry.

Theresa Evans' son Llywelyn was one of the first British casualties of the Iraq invasion.

The 24-year-old from Llandudno, Conwy county, was serving with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery when the helicopter carrying him and other UK and US troops crashed south of the Kuwait border.

Image copyright MOD
Image caption L/Bombardier Llywelyn Evans

Mrs Evans said the inquiry's findings went beyond what she and other families had anticipated.

"I feel relieved that the inquiry has said that we shouldn't have been taken to war," she said.

"I was petrified about what the report would say, but now we have the correct findings.

"Now I'm going to see what my solicitor has to say, and how we take this forward."

'Unjustified'

The parents of Peter McFerran from Connah's Quay in Flintshire said they had feared the Chilcot report would be "a complete whitewash" but added: "It wasn't".

"There's no reason whatsoever that they should have gone into Iraq in 2003," said Ann McFerran, the mother of the RAF senior aircraftman who was killed in a rocket attack at Basra airbase.

"We hope now, that because it was unjustified, because it was illegal, we hope now that someone is going to be held accountable."

Image caption SAC Peter McFerran

Speaking as they left the QEII Centre in London after seeing the 150-page report summary, the family of Alec MacLachlan from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, said it was clear that Tony Blair was "George Bush's poodle".

Mr MacLachlan was working as a private security guard when he was kidnapped and killed.

His father Peter MacLachlan said: "The report was very factual. And it didn't hold anything back."

He said he did not think the war was based on a lie but added "in the future they should think of the consequences for a lot longer".

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