Here’s why family of Huddersfield man killed in Kabul feel “totally let down”

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They are unhappy with the inquest into the death of Michael Hampshire

The heartbroken family of a Huddersfield man killed by a Taliban bomber have said they feel “totally let down” by the inquest into his death which they say has left many unanswered questions.

An inquest into Michael Hampshire’s death in Bradford finished with the coroner recording an inquest of unlawful killing.

The 29-year-old from Golcar died on May 17, 2015 when a car he was in was targeted by a Taliban suicide bomb attack . He was working as a close protection officer for HART International who were on a mission for the European Union Police (EUPol).

They were part of a two-car convoy taking two EU officials to the Ministry of Interior in Kabul.

In a statement for the Examiner, Michael’s parents Martin and Angela Hampshire said: “We had hoped that we would hear the answers to all of our questions and queries about what happened. We are sad and very disappointed that we did not and were unable to gain satisfaction from the process.

Michael was in almost daily contact with us and his fiancée Claire while working in Afghanistan and he repeatedly detailed his concerns about the duties he and other Close Protection Officers (CPOs) were requested to carry out and the routes that they were expected to travel on while transporting officials around Kabul City.

“Michael was a professional soldier and Royal Military Policeman before training to become a CPO. He knew the risks of the role he held and the work he was involved in, but he also understood the importance of ensuring that risk assessments were thorough and well informed with up-to-date intelligence.

“He had expert knowledge on safety and security and knew what he was talking about when assessing the growing danger of routes around Kabul.”

His parents feel that HART International and the organisation that contracted them, EUPOL, could have done more to listen to Michael’s concerns and those of his fellow CPOs.

The couple added: “We are heartbroken that our son has been taken from us in such a tragic and brutal way. Nobody can comprehend how losing a child will make you feel. The gap will forever remain in our hearts, in our family and in our home, is so huge that it is unquantifiable.

“We fully understand that an inquest is not a court of blame and we were not looking to blame anyone or anything apart from the insurgents who manipulated the suicide bomber and planned the road side attack, but we truly hoped that we would hear a full and honest account of everything Michael had told us was happening in the days leading up to his death.

“We believed that the inquest would be a process that would fearlessly reveal what happened. We went into the process with an open mind and we hoped all witnesses would reveal the relevant information we needed to hear. We know that we have tried to do everything that we can to get justice for Michael and we desperately wanted to do everything in our power to find out the details of what happened and hopefully provide some impetus to making sure it does not happen again. Sadly, we have not achieved this and feel totally let down and disillusioned by the outcome of the investigation into our wonderful son’s brutal death.”

The couple wanted to thank the many people and organisations that have given them support since Michael died and through the inquest process .

“We are very grateful to all of them for their help, support and compassion,” they said.

The official verdict states that “this was a devastating and opportunistic terrorist attack which could not have been reasonably foreseen or avoided.”

Hart Security said: “We would like to express its profound sadness for the tragic loss of Michael Hampshire. Michael was a brave, dedicated, experienced and highly professional Close Protection Officer. He was well liked and respected by all who knew him.

“Tragically, Michael was murdered by a suicide bomber. This was a devastating and opportunistic terrorist attack which could not have been foreseen or avoided. Hart has sought to co-operate fully with the inquest and assist Michael’s family and friends as far as possible. We would like to extend our deepest condolences to Michael’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

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