North Yorkshire GP awaits tribunal decision after death of detainee

The Northern Echo: DETAINED IN IRAQ: Baha Mousa, second from the right, and his family DETAINED IN IRAQ: Baha Mousa, second from the right, and his family

A NORTH Yorkshire GP will today be told if his career is over following his involvement in the death of an Iraqi hotel worker. Joe Willis reports.

ON September 14, 2003, Baha Mousa, a 26-year-old hotel receptionist, was arrested by British soldiers along with six other Iraqis.

The men were taken to a Basra Army base where they were hooded and beaten by troops from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment .

Two days later, Mr Mousa died despite the efforts of regimental medical officer, Captain Derek Keilloh, and his team to revive him.

Seven soldiers later stood tried for mistreating the detainees. Six were cleared of any wrongdoing but one - Corporal Donald Payne  - pleaded guilty to a charge of inhumane treatment and was jailed for a year.

Their commanding officer, Colonel Jorge Mendonca, was acquitted of a charge of negligence at a court martial and was later decorated for his work in Iraq.

Nearly ten years later, Dr Keilloh is facing a disciplinary hearing by the General Medical Council after it received a complaint about his conduct from a human rights lawyer.

The inquiry has already found Dr Keilloh guilty of a number of misconduct charges and will conclude tomorrow (Friday, December 21) when a decision will be made on what sanction to take.

Dr Keilloh is prevented from speaking publicly himself until the tribunal's decision is announced.

However, his family say that far from being dishonest and reprehensible, the GP was doing his job as best he could under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

They point out that he had been in Iraq for less than two months and had no loyalty to the battalion he was serving with - and no reason to be untruthful.

At the time he arrived, Basra was in turmoil with riots, violence and medical emergencies far beyond Dr Keilloh's previous experience and training. Dr Keilloh has been criticised for failing to examine Mr Mousa's body after his death.

However, the family say Dr Keilloh followed protocol by immediately sending the body off for forensic examination.

His wife Emma and her parents, Robert and Judy Nicholls, are also unhappy that the media is showing a picture of Mr Mousa's blooded face.

“As if to imply that is what he failed to see,” said Mrs Nicholls.

“We understand that the photograph showing injuries was taken six days after his death.The Northern Echo: EVIDENCE: A still taken from a video of a British soldier screaming abuse at a hooded Iraqi detainees which was played to the public inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa

“I have been told that a well-respected, impartial pathologist gave evidence that the injuries shown on the photograph would not have been evident at the time of death.”

The family claim the Army had no proper system in place to deal with detainees at the time of Mr Mousa's death.

After the tragedy, Dr Keilloh implemented a new system to better protect civilian prisoners.

“Of course this has been twisted to suggest that Derek implemented a system to prevent inhumane treatment because he was aware of it - this is untrue and unfair,” said Mrs Nicholls.

Dr Keilloh is a partner at Mayford House surgery, in Northallerton, who works for the GP out-of-hours service and previously worked at the town's Friarage Hospital.

The father-of-two will learn (Friday, December 21) tomorrow if his medical career has a future.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree