Couple forced to sell their home after legal battle to prove soldier son died needlessly

THE parents of a young Scottish soldier killed in Iraq have been forced to sell their home to pay for a costly legal battle against the Ministry of Defence.

Diane and Walter Douglas, the parents of Lance Corporal Allan Douglas, 22, are convinced their son died needlessly when he was shot dead by a sniper while helping to put up a radio mast in the volatile Maysan Province four years ago.

Lance-Corporal Douglas, from Aberdeen, was serving with the 1st Battalion The Highlanders when he became the 99th British serviceman to be killed in Iraq. An inquest into his death was told that a patrol, which had been sent to pick him up, was only three minutes away when he was killed by the sniper's bullet.

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His parents had been planning to take the Ministry of Defence to court, claiming their son was needlessly killed because there were not enough troops in position to protect him. But they have now been forced to abandon their legal action before it reached court.

Mr Douglas, 60, said: "My son's life could have been saved if the right precautions had been taken. If we had more money, we could have carried on with the legal case, and I'm quite sure the army would have had to admit that his life could have been saved.

"However, I was advised by the solicitors not to take things any further because of my financial situation."

Mrs Douglas, 59, who works in a supermarket bakery, said : "I thought that the army would offer us help, but they don't even want to know.

"Try to go up against the MoD and you have no chance. You'll never win against them."