Family agree trial after killing of Sunderland ex-marine in Iraq

Phil Harris from Red House who was shot and killed in Iraq in August 2014
Phil Harris from Red House who was shot and killed in Iraq in August 2014
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THE family of a former serviceman shot and killed in Iraq have given their approval for police in the country to take court action against the man accused of his killing.

Ex-Marine Phillip Harris, 37, died after mistakenly walking into the wrong villa in the crisis-hit city of Erbil in August.

The dad-of-two, from Red House, was working in private security, as he had done since leaving the marines in 2004, at the time of his death.

Since the killing, a Kurdish man has been arrested and bailed.

Now Mr Harris’s mum Ellen Miller and dad, also called Phillip, have been asked to give consent that they want to press charges.

The family have been asked to give their consent rather than travel to Iraq, where consular staff have warned that there would be no translator or accommodation made available to them.

Mr Harris’s sister, Mandy Smillie, 39, said: “We’ve had a email from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to say that an officer from the British Consulate went to meet with criminal police in Erbil.

“We’ve now been told that we need to provide consent for the case to go to court once the investigation finishes, which my mam and dad have given.”

While it is a minor development, Mandy added that she hopes progress over the case will now continue. “It could take up to three years for a court case to begin, but if we have to wait that long then so be it,” she said.