A DOCTOR found guilty of misconduct following the death of an Iraqi detainee is an excellent GP who was naive, but not negligent, supporters claimed tonight (Thursday, December 20).

Speaking publicly for the first time, the family of Dr Derek Keilloh say the Northallerton GP was unaware British soldiers were abusing prisoners in Basra in 2003.

Dr Keilloh will tomorrow (Friday, December 21) learn if he is to be struck off or suspended over the death of 26-year-old detainee Baha Mousa.

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Hotel receptionist Mr Mousa suffered 93 injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose, during the final 36 hours of his life in Army custody.

The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service (MPTS) found that Dr Keilloh, 38, a partner at Mayford House Surgery, in Northallerton, had been repeatedly dishonest when he claimed he did not see any injuries on Mr Mousa other than dried blood around his nose while serving as a regimental medical officer with the 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

The tribunal also found that the doctor failed to assess other detainees or protect them from further mistreatment, and did not tell senior officers what was going on.

However, his mother-in-law Judy Nicholls told The Northern Echo the father-of-two had been telling the truth and the tribunal had made a catastrophic mistake.

She said: “We believe in our son-in-law - we have faith in his honesty and integrity.

“He did not know that torture was happening and we believe the way he is being treated is wrong.”

Speaking with the blessing of her daughter and Mr Keilloh's wife, Emma, Mrs Nicholls, from Askrigg, in Wensleydale, said the doctor had not yet finished his GP training when he was posted to Iraq.

He had minimal training on working in a combat zone and little idea of his role in Basra, she said.

Speaking about the abuse of the detainees, she added: “I can remember him saying to me some years ago 'I was naive - I did not think that this sort of thing happened in the British Army'.”

Dr Keilloh also has the backing of NHS colleagues.

Dr Jonathan Holubecki-France, a GP with the Central Dales Practice, based in Hawes, works in the NHS out-of-hours service with Dr Keilloh.

He said: “I know him as one of a quality core of respected and able local GPs that we need to be doing all we can to preserve.

“Derek has my full support and will continue to do so, whatever happens.”

More than 250 patients and colleagues have signed an on-line petition - ipetitions.com/petition/we-dont-want-to-lose-our-local-gp-dr-derek - calling on health chiefs to allow him to return to work.The Northern Echo: WAR ZONE: Dr Derek Keilloh was stationed in Iraq as a regimental medical officer

Nicholas Quinn, a consultant in secondary care at the Friarage Hospital, said: “(I) have received many referrals from Dr Keilloh.

“His patients speak very highly of him and he seems to me to be entirely competent to practice medicine.”

Patient Jean O'Hanlon said: “This marvellous man has helped me so much over the past two years - he is a dedicated doctor who always has his patients' best interests at heart.”

The tribunal has the power to suspend or strike off doctors it finds guilty of misconduct.