Hearing will be told of latest progress on investigation into death of Sunderland dad in Iraq

The loved ones of a decorated former marine shot dead while working in Iraq will learn next week whether they are any nearer to finding out what happened.

Friday, 29th January 2016, 9:11 am
Updated Friday, 29th January 2016, 9:19 am
Phillip Harris

The Red House dad-of-two was gunned down in a villa in the city of Erbil in August 2014.

A man was arrested on suspicion of the attack, which happened after Phillip had been on a night out.

A pre inquest hearing at Sunderland Coroner's Court next Friday, February 5, will hear about the latest progress on the case.

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Speaking on the anniversary of his death, Phillip's family said they had endured a year of uncertainty over how he died.

"It gets harder every day," said mum Ellen Miller.

“There haven’t been any developments in Iraq, it’s a slow process, so we’re just waiting to hear.
It’s Groundhog Day for us.

"But it will be like this for the rest of our lives regardless of whether someone is convicted of killing Phillip.

"He was such a big part of our lives and always will be.”

Mr Harris signed up to serve in the marines almost immediately after leaving school.

Following tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan among others, he decided to leave the forces in 2004 and move into private security work, which he was doing at the time of his death.

"Wherever he was in the world, he would call us almost every day,”"said Ellen.

"One lad who knew him said he was like a rabbit in the headlights when he first went out to Iraq but Phillip took him under his wing."

The family also said they had been caused further heartache by not being able to get a headstone in place at Phillip’s grave in Mere Knolls Cemetery, in Seaburn, because they do not own the deeds to the grave.

“We need to put him to rest properly by putting in a headstone,” added Ellen.

“We’ve got the money to pay for it, that isn’t the problem, but we don’t have the deeds to be able to do it.

“It’s the least Phillip deserves.”