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October 13 - 192010

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TheTelegraph

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NEWS P11

NEWS P8

Saunders verdict Police admit ‘confusion’ in siege that ended in death

The end of the oceans Anew study finds a catastrophic reduction in marine life

OBITUARIES P22

NEWS P13

Final letter An extraordinary lost poem by Ted Hughes has been made public

He liked it hot Actor Tony Curtis, one of Hollywood’s last matinee idols

LOTTO 06/10

LOTTO 09/10

17 9 18 23 30 35 5 11 19 29 33 35

Bonus Ball 14

Bonus Ball 46

There were five winners of Saturday’s £4.0m jackpot and one winner of Wednesday’s £2.3m prize

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Dispatches For the latest news on serving British soldiers telegraph.co.uk/frontline

The Telegraph

By Thomas Harding and Richard Spencer FAMILIES of six military policemen murdered in Iraq reacted with anger and disbelief on Sunday when two men accused of their killings were released after a two-hour “trial”.

After seven years spent seeking justice, relatives spoke of their “devastation” following the abrupt dismissal of the case by an Iraqi judge. Chief Justice Baleagh Hamdi Hikmat dropped the charges against Hamza Hateer, 33, and Mussa Ismael al Fartusi, 39, after no witness accounts of the killings were presented by the prosecution.

The case has been closely followed by the military as a critical test of whether anyone will be held accountable for the deaths of other soldiers during the conflict, which claimed 179 British lives.

While seven arrest warrants remain outstanding, it appears unlikely that anyone will be brought to justice for the deaths of the Red Caps Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, Cpl Russell Aston, 30, Cpl Paul Long, 24, Cpl Simon Miller, 21, L/Cpl Benjamin Hyde, 23, and L/Cpl Tom Keys, 20.

A 2006 inquest into the deaths of the six, at the hands of a vengeful Iraqi mob, heard that they had not been warned of the tensions in the area. Their supplies of

Marilyn and John Miller, whose son Cpl Simon Miller was among six British military policemen murdered by a vengeful mob in Iraq in 2003

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INGSTON

KPAUL

ammunition and radios were also deemed to be inadequate.

Cpl Miller’s father said he was “devastated” and criticised the decision to deny the families access to the court.

“My son was let down so badly in life, now he has been let down so badly in death,” said John Miller, 59. “I don’t understand how this can happen. This is exactly why we wanted to be at the trial, we needed to be there.”

He also attacked the British Government over its handling of the case and its failure to keep relatives informed.

John Hyde, father of L/Cpl Hyde, called the case a “farce”. “I can’t see any reason why the charges should have been dropped. The only reason I can think is that the trial judge is frightened of repercussions,” he said.

Mike Aston, father of Cpl Aston, said the decision had deprived him of “closure” over his son’s death.

During the short hearing at Baghdad’s central criminal court, the three-judge panel questioned nine witnesses, mostly Iraqi police, but none said they saw the killings.

“The court did not see sufficient proof to condemn you and has decided to release you,” Mr Hikmat told the defendants.

By James Kirkup LIBERAL Democrat ministers including Nick Clegg and Vince Cable will refuse to back the Coalition’s plans to raise university tuition fees, party sources have said.

Their rejection of higher education reforms would leave the Conservatives trying to push the measure through the Commons alone, in the face of opposition from Labour and Lib Dem backbenchers.

Lord Browne is due to publish his independent review of university funding this week, rejecting the Lib Dem plan for a dedicated tax on graduates and recommending colleges be allowed to increase fees substantially. The Browne review will suggest removing entirely the cap on annual fees, allowing universities complete freedom to set their price for each year’s tuition.

Conservative ministers want to charge high-earning graduates a higher rate of interest on student loans. The plan could mean young people leave university with debts of up to £80,000.

Lib Dem MPs are under pressure because they fought the election on a promise to vote against increases in tuition fees. Several Lib Dem backbenchers have promised to vote against the Coalition if ministers propose any rise in fees. Senior Lib Dems believe that the party’s ministers would have no choice but to abstain on the issue in Commons votes. That would leave the Conservatives trying to win a Commons majority for the policy in the face of opposition from Labour, Lib Dem rebels and the smaller parties.

Mr Cable, the Lib Dem Business Secretary in charge of higher education, has emailed his party’s supporters to tell them that a graduate tax “is not the way forward”.

Philip Hammond, the Conservative Transport Secretary, signalled on Sunday that the Coalition was likely to lift fees and charge a “variable interest rate” on student loans.

The result would be that “those with the lowest incomes have their interest rate effectively subsidised, while those on the highest incomes provide something additional to provide that subsidy”.

One senior Lib Dem source said the party’s ministers were unlikely to vote for the plan. The source said: “There’s still time and we’ll do a lot of work on this to see what we can do with the fee system to make it acceptable.

“But realistically, we all signed the pledge, so it’ll probably come out that we have to sit on our hands when it comes to the vote.”

The Coalition agreement allows Lib Dem ministers to abstain from votes on higher tuition fees. But senior Lib Dems are wary of activating that clause, fearing that the party would lose credibility.

Report, page 10 Boris Johnson, page 21

Continued from page 1

just does his own thing without discussing it because he thinks he doesn’t need to.

“But sometimes it turns out he’s not as clever as he thinks he is.”

In an interview on BBC’s Newsnight, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was pressed 11 times by Jeremy Paxman about when she first heard the child benefit cut was to be announced.

In an echo of his infamous interview with Michael Howard on prisons policy in 1997, she persistently avoided a direct answer.

Hours after Mr Osborne spoke on Monday last week, Tim Loughton, the children’s minister, said the plan might have to be revised. “If there are ways we can look at compensating measures for those genuinely in need, that will be looked at in future budgets,” he said.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Lib Dem leader, said that he expected adjustments before the policy took effect to ensure the public believed it was “fair”.

However, despite the damage limitation exercise, a senior Cabinet minister has privately warned The Telegraph that even more middle-class benefits will be cut in next week’s spending review.

‘I sponsor the child of a higher rate taxpayer in the UK’

“We can’t ask poor people to accept cuts or changes to welfare rules but not middle England, just because welloff people have more of a voice,” the minister said. “How can you make these difficult decisions for people at the bottom while still paying benefits to wealthy people?”

It is thought that the minimum age at which benefits for the elderly can be claimed may be raised. Alternatively, higher-rate taxpayers may lose the handouts.

And despite the row over child benefit cuts, ministers are close to agreeing plans that would see the cut-off age for those benefits fall from 18 to 16.

The change would save up to £2billion and is considered “an easy win” for Mr Osborne as he prepares to unveil the comprehensive spending review next week.