LONDON — The award-winning veteran British TV newsman, Terry Lloyd, was unlawfully killed when he came under fire in Iraq from U.S. troops, a British coroner’s court has ruled.
The court heard how a U.S. bullet killed Lloyd, a 50-year-old reporter with Independent Television News, near Basra in March 2003.
He was hit, according to the evidence presented at a six-day hearing in Oxford, while being transported in a makeshift ambulance after already being injured in crossfire from American troops and Iraqi rebels.
Coroner Andrew Walker said he would take steps to see if those responsible could be brought to justice.
He said: “Having carefully taken into account all the evidence, I am satisfied that had this killing taken place under English law it would have constituted an unlawful homicide.
“I shall write to the attorney general (the British government’s chief legal adviser) and the director of public prosecutions with a view to considering the appropriate steps to bring the persons involved in this incident to justice.”
The National Union of Journalists described Lloyd’s killing as a “war crime,” a sentiment echoed by his widow Lyn.
In a statement the NUJ said: “This was a very serious war crime, how else can firing on a vehicle in these circumstances be interpreted?
“This was not a friendly fire incident, it was a despicable, deliberate, vengeful act, particularly as it came many minutes after the initial exchange.
“U.S. forces appear to have allowed their soldiers to behave like trigger happy cowboys in an area where civilians were moving around.”
Lloyd, who had filed dispatches from many of the world’s trouble spots, was reporting from Iraq as a so-called “unilateral” journalist, rather than being “embedded” with U.K. or U.S. forces where he would have been subject to military censorship.
ITN’s editor in chief David Mannion said: “I would like to say some-thing that I know Terry would have wished me to say.
“Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists but to the role we play in a free and democratic society.”