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Mother in plea for truth over air crash; Commons to consider Nimrod report.


A WOMAN whose son died in a spy plane disaster which claimed the lives of three Merseyside men will be in London tomorrow when the Nimrod Review is presented to Parliament.

Pam Swarbrick's 28-year-old son, Steven, died on September 2, 2006, along side Flt Lt Allan Squires, 39, from Clatterbridge, and Sgt John Langton, 29, from Garston, when their XV230 Nimrod exploded in the sky after re-fuelling, killing all 14 service men aboard.

Tomorrow, Mrs Swarbrick, from Formby, will unite with the victims' relatives when Charles Haddon-Cave QC's independent review is laid before the House of Commons.

The report's terms of reference, which were established by Defence Secretary Des Browne in 2007, are broad and will include the airworthiness of the XV230 fleet and responsibility for the disaster, which was the largest single loss of life for the forces since the Falklands war.

Mr Haddon-Cave, one the country's leading aviation law barristers, will present his report to Parliament and then attend a lunch-time press conference at Gray's Inn.

At the inquest into the air disaster last year, coroner Andrew Walker said the aircraft had never been airworthy and the MoD had a cavalier approach to safety.

This prompted Mrs Swarbrick to sue the Ministry of Defence for negligence and failing to protect her son's right to life under article two of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence grounded all Nimrods that had not had their engine-bay hot air ducts replaced, and admitted negligence in relation to the explosion that killed 14 service men.

Although Mrs Swarbrick knew that her son had been posted to the Persian Gulf, she was unaware that he was taking part in a reconnaissance mission over Afghanistan and she launched the legal action against the MoD to establish why Steven was ordered to fly in a plane that was not safe.

She said: "I did not even know Steven was in Afghanistan.

"He was posted to the Gulf, and his mission was more to do with Iraq than Afghanistan.

"I remember the day the RAF came to see me and break the news.

" I was on my own, and my son Karl had requested that this would never happen. I also know that my son died on what should have been his day off."

Mrs Swarbrick said that Steven's Formby friends remained a constant source of strength and comfort to his family, and hold a football match to celebrate the life of their friend every year in the village.


Pam Swarbrick Flight Lieutenant Steven Swarbrick died, aged 28, in the air accident
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2009
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