THE family of an Army Red Cap killed by an Iraqi mob are suing the Ministry of Defence for negligence.

Corporal Russell Aston, 30, was killed alongside five other Royal Military Police officers, including three from the North-East and North Yorkshire, when a 400-strong mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in Iraq in June 2003.

His family have now launched legal action against the MoD for negligence, following a landmark ruling at the Supreme Court last month.

Today it emerged that lawyers for the family of Cpl Aston, who was from Swadlincote, Derbyshire, have launched a legal claim alleging that commanders failed to take reasonable measures to keep him and his fellow military police officers safe.

It claims the MoD was negligent because the Red Caps were not supplied with sufficient ammunition to defend themselves, or roadworthy vehicles or effective communications.

The other five RMP officers were Sergeant Simon Hamilton-Jewell, 41, from Chessington, Surrey; Corporal Paul Long, 24, of South Shields, Tyne and Wear; Lance Corporal Ben Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire; Lance Corporal Tom Keys, 20, from Bala, North Wales; and Corporal Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Solicitor-Advocate Simon McKay, who is acting for the families of Cpl Aston and Cpl Miller, said: "The claims follow a recent Supreme Court ruling extending the reach of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to some theatres of war and the scope of combat immunity as a defence available to the Ministry of Defence."

He said the claim alleges that the Government breached Article 2 of European Convention by failing to take measures that it was expected to in light of the real and immediate risk to life of the soldiers.