|Keep your head down!|
Andrew Walker was (until April 2008) an assistant deputy coroner of Oxfordshire. He is much respected by HM Forces. Now its rare that a barrister could be considered a squaddies friend but Andy is a special case.
Within the above area is RAF Brize Norton ... the main entry point into the UK for servicemen who have died overseas. As a result Andrew Walker sat as coroner in many inquests into the circumstances of British servicemen's deaths abroad.
Andrew Walker is indisputably an able, efficient and incorruptible coroner. Note the word incorruptible. This was the problem with him investigating dead squaddies, at least as far as the MoD and government was concerned. In the course of numerous inquests
- He summoned several high profile witnesses including then Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to give evidence as to why basic and vital kit was not in theatre.
- He has been scathing of the fact that US servicemen do not attend non-US courts.
- He has called for criminal charges against the U.S. servicemen involved in friendly fire incidents where the Spams were simply trigger happy cnuts.
- After the crash of a Nimrod in Afghanistan in 2006, in which 14 servicemen were killed, Walker stated that based on the evidence, the entire Nimrod fleet had "never been airworthy from the first time it was released to service"
- Mr Walker refused to return documents which had been given to him by the MoD by mistake - the coroner said he was worried he would not see the material again.
- Found that the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd, who was shot dead by US forces in southern Iraq in March 2003, was unlawful killing - the strongest verdict a coroner can record AND asked the attorney general to consider pressing charges.
- After another verdict in which he highlighted "serious failures" in the equipping and protecting of British forces, Defence Secretary Des Browne went to the High Court, claiming that his use of the term gave families a weapon to sue the Ministry of Defence. Swiss Des lost his case.
As a result of the above and many more, Andrew was 'promoted' sideways to be coroner for Hornsey in North London ... where very few embarrassingly dead squaddies due to MoD failures and government cheapness can be found.
For such a champion of the people and being so popular with bereaved families for his determination to get to the bottom of complex issues ... its amazing that he wasn't found in a field having taken painkillers and slashed his wrists after a bout of 'depression'.
Mr. Walker ... ARRSE salutes you..