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VICTORY FOR THE SAS MUM.

Byline: TOM NEWTON DUNN

THE partner of a fallen SAS hero is to be offered a special deal by the MoD to make up for her not getting a war widow's pension, it was revealed last night.

Anna Homsi won the payout after The Mirror backed her fight for justice. Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon stepped in to end the national fury over the case.

Officials are working on a financial settlement for young mum Anna and her eight-month-old daughter Georgia. It is believed to involve a "substantial" lump sum with a pledge that details will be finalised in four to six weeks time.

Anna's partner of eight years, SAS Trooper Brad Tinnion, was killed on the daring hostage rescue raid in Sierra Leone last year when Anna was six months pregnant with their first child.

When we broke the good news of the victory last night, she said: "I am delighted the MoD have reconsidered the position. It sounds like good news but I must wait." Anna was denied the customary war widow's pension of pounds 18,000 a year because she and Brad, 28, had not married.

She faced bringing up baby Georgia up on just pounds 53 a week and the agony of losing their home in Hereford.

An MoD source said: "We have a duty to look after Anna, we accept that, and we will honour that.

"We want to make sure she will be able to look after herself and her child".

Mr Hoon last night issued a carefully worded statement that represents a significant shift in government policy.

He said: "We have begun to look afresh at Anna Homsi's case.

"I have every sympathy for her situation. It will take a little time to sort out the details.

"But I am confident that we can reach a satisfactory outcome shortly."

The row was a significant embarrassment for the government and Premier Tony Blair, who heaped high praise on Brad's actions after he was killed.

But any lump sum must be near the pounds 300,000 mark to make up for what Anna would have got if she and Brad were married. The victory came as The Mirror was set to reveal the government hypocrites who awarded a pension to their own unmarried partners but had refused to give the same benefit to Anna, 30.

Five Cabinet ministers, including ex-Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, sneaked through the generous benefit for all MPs in a House of Commons vote just three weeks ago. They were supported by Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, Education Secretary Estelle Morris, Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell and Chief whip Hilary Armstrong.

It means if any of the MPs were to die, their long-term partners will be fully financially supported by the state for the rest of their lives.

Ironically it was Mr Cook, who as Foreign Secretary ordered British soldiers to Sierra Leone.

Other high-profile Labour names who backed the vote were former London mayor cabinet Frank Dobson, former Welsh leader Alun Michael, Cabinet Office minister Barbara Roche and ex-Culture chief Chris Smith.

CAPTION(S):

WINNERS: Anna and Georgia; PAYOUT: Anna
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2001
Words:516
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