Inquest soon into aid worker's death

By Richard SmithTHE long-awaited inquest into the death of an aid worker from East Anglia who was shot by an Israeli soldier is expected to be held within a few months.

By Richard Smith

THE long-awaited inquest into the death of an aid worker from East Anglia who was shot by an Israeli soldier is expected to be held within a few months.

Concern has been expressed about the delay in holding an inquest into the death of Iain Hook, but Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said yesterday that inquiries were still continuing and an inquest would be held as soon as the investigation was completed.

Mr Hook, 54, from Felixstowe Ferry, was project manager for the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Jenin when he was killed two years ago.


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He was in charge of a project to rebuild the Jenin refugee camp when he was shot on November 22, 2002.

Witnesses said had been trying to negotiate the release of his team from the camp when Israeli troops surrounded the nearby hideout of a wanted Islamic Jihad leader suspected of masterminding a suicide bombing that killed 14 people.

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An inquest was opened at Ipswich Crown Court in December 2002 and it was adjourned for further inquiries. A date has not been set for a full inquest.

Dr Dean said: “Inquiries are still going on. I have been in contact with Mrs Hook recently and we are looking towards an inquest in the New Year, hopefully the first part of the New Year.

“The majority of inquests are completed within three to six months. The difficulty clearly here is that it is a much more complex inquest. There are a lot of different agencies involved and it can take a lot longer to get the information you want.”

Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said: “I think it is absolutely essential that the coroner holds the inquiry with suitable haste to show the seriousness about the fact that a British national has been killed.

“Facts of the case should be established. There should be no delay in holding the inquest. Also, there is somebody out there who may have been guilty of killing a UN aid worker.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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