Executives at Abu Dhabi TV claim to be in possession of video tapes which back the emerging theory that ITV News reporter Terry Lloyd was killed by a US helicopter gunship and not in crossfire between two vehicles.
Nart Bouran, director of the news centre at Abu Dhabi Television, told Press Gazette that the broadcaster had acquired tapes from Iraqis that include footage of one of Saddam Hussein’s minions explaining to him that Lloyd had been shot by US troops from a helicopter.
Director of Abu Dhabi TV Ali AlAhmed and Omar Saqer, director of special projects, confirmed the tapes’ existence and the intention to air the footage worldwide on 17 September.
The suggestion that Lloyd was not killed in crossfire between US and Iraqi military vehicles was also reported by the Daily Mirror on Wednesday.
The Iraqi witness quoted in the Mirror story, Hamid Aglan, was also a witness in ITN’s investigations into Lloyd’s death, conducted before the Ministry of Defence agreed to launch a military police inquiry in May.
But ITN, which produces ITV’s news, said the Mirror’s report “doesn’t stack up” with its own investigations.
“The Mirror report doesn’t fit with what we have gathered ourselves – over six months’ worth of evidence we got together,” the broadcaster said.
“His [Aglan’s ] testimony to ITN does not correspond with the information he has provided to the Mirror. It also contradicts other witness statements gathered by ITN and the results of two post-mortems. All information from ITN’s investigation was passed to the US and British military investigation teams. We await the findings of the Royal Military Police and the results of the inquest into Terry’s death.”
ITN insisted that Aglan’s statement contradicts what he told the broadcaster at the time, but confirmed he did raise the subject of a US helicopter being involved in Lloyd’s shooting.
“There are significant differences to his testimonies. He claimed to us that, as he helped Terry into the minibus, that he was unconscious. He was adamant that Terry was not able to talk other than possibly a few words,” said a spokeswoman.
ITN also challenged the assertion that Lloyd sustained a shoulder injury, saying that the post mortem recorded two wounds – to his head and back. “There is nothing about shoulder injuries in the post mortem.”
The Mirror article also said that ITN cameraman Fred Nerac and interpreter Hussein Osman were captured by Iraqis and later executed by Fedayeen militia.
In May, ITN said its investigations produced two theories: that Nerac and Osman were either transferred from their car and taken to Az Zubayr or they were killed at the scene of the shooting on the road outside Basra.
“We are no closer to knowing which of those is true. There is a lot of speculation that goes with both of those theories. The Mirror doesn’t relate to anything more certain in trying to establish what happened,” said the spokeswoman.
“The British military police investigation into the death of Lloyd and the disappearance of Nerac and Osman is still ongoing and no significant new evidence has come to light.”
By Wale Azeez