A SUNDERLAND widow has spoken of her heartache after the father of her children was killed in Iraq.
Sandra Harris was stunned after receiving a phone call to say former Marine Phil Harris, pictured, had been shot.
Mum-of-two Mrs Harris, 44, said: “Phil was our rock and an incredible dad who idolised his children.
“We are all struggling to understand what’s happened.”
Mr Harris, 37, of Red House, was shot after mistakenly walking into the wrong villa in the war-torn city of Erbil in northern Iraq, which is under attack from Islamic terrorists who have murdered thousands of refugees throughout the province.
The security specialist had gone to the middle Eastern country in July and was due to return to his children back on Wearside later this month.
Mrs Harris said: “The children and I were in Tenerife with some friends when we found out. We were sitting round the pool when the police called to say what had happened.
“Phil had always been there to listen.
“Even when he was away, he was just on the other end of the phone. We’re all devastated by what’s happened.”
Mr Harris met Sandra 15 years ago on a night out in Sunderland.
The couple married in March, 2001, and went on to have Bobi-Jo, now 12, and Leon, 11.
Although the couple separated nine years ago, Mrs Harris said they stayed strong for their children.
Hundreds gathered at St Andrew’s Church in Roker last week for the funeral of the former serviceman, who had also served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have been in touch with Mr Harris’s family to let them know how the investigation into his death is progressing.
A Kurdish man arrested in relation to the shooting is on police bail in the country.