Jean Mc Bride, the mother of murdered Belfast teenager Peter Mc Bride, has released the following statement.

“Our family has watched events unfold over the past week as three soldiers were prosecuted and found guilty of the humilation and abuse of civilians in Basra, Iraq in 2003. General Mike Jackson has apologised to the Iraqi people and said that the actions of these soldiers has brought shame on the British Army. Most people would agree and our family. more than most, welcomes the fact that these soldiers have been thrown out of the armed forces. They were dismissed within hours of sentencing since, according to the court, they had ‘disgraced’ the army.

The soldiers who murdered my son have been allowed to remain in the British Army. Peter was not suspended from the prongs of a forklift truck nor was he forced to stimulate sexual acts. Instead he was shot in the back in broad daylight in a North Belfast street and then finished off as he tried to pull himself up. According to a court of law two Scots Guards, Mark Wright and James Fisher, were guilty of murdering my son. They knew that Peter was unarmed and was no threat to them. But despite their convictions the Ministry of Defence has allowed both convicted murderers to stay on in the army. General Mike Jackson sat on the Army Board that made this decision as did John Spellar MP. Now, finally, I understand why. According to this government the two soldiers who shot my son in the back did not bring ‘disgrace’ on the army. What other explanation is there?

Guardsmen Wright and Fisher were stationed in Basra in May 2003 when the humiliation and torture of civilian prisoners took place. I said at the time and I repeat it today. What message did that send to other soldiers in Iraq when they found themselves serving alongside convicted murderers?

Maybe Geoff Hoon MP can explain why the humiliation of prisoners warrants immediate dismissal from his armed forces while the murder of an unarmed 18 year boy does not? One of those convicted of murdering Peter has since been promoted. While I have a breadth left in my body I’ll fight to have these soldiers dismissed.”