He was flown home the following week, the following Monday, and by this time I’d met, who had I met?
The Coroner’s officer?
I had yes, who was very pleasant and she explained to me what would happen. And that’s when we realised that there obviously would be a post mortem, and that was not greeted very well to be fair because obviously we were told that he was, there was a lot of injuries, and we’d been told by the company that he worked with that obviously there was a lot of head injuries and etc, because obviously it’d been crushed, and we just felt that in taking him off, you know, to then cut him up even more was just, “Why?” Because we know we know how he, you know we know what killed him, it just seemed a very pointless exercise. But unfortunately it’s the law and we had no choice in the matter whatsoever. But again they were very good because they flew him back on the Monday, and they said they would take him for the post-mortem on the Tuesday, and I insisted I had to, I wanted to see him before they took him for his post-mortem. And he flew into Heathrow at midday, and he eventually got to where we live, to the funeral parlour, and they rang me at quarter to midnight that evening to say, that he was here.
So did you go round to see him the next day?
The following morning, yeah. First thing the following morning, we went up there, because I had to identify the body, and obviously he had a couple of tattoos, so he was, he was quite easy to identify and I had to, she asked me what the tattoos were, and I told her. And she obviously had his passport with them, and she showed me the picture in the passport and asked me was that.
Was this the coroner’s officer?
Yes it was. “Was that my son?” I said, “Yes it was.” And I asked her, she had obviously been involved in cleaning him up, because she said she had been involved in that, and I did ask her, “Would I recognise him?” And she said, “No, I don’t think you will.” And that was a bit of a shock because it was, and she said, “I don’t think, he doesn’t look like he does on that passport,” is what her words were. And then I went in to identify the body.
Were you on your own?
Yes. Yeah my husband and my daughter didn’t want to go in. And they never did go in. So, they didn’t want to.
Was it the right thing for you to go and see him?
Most definitely. Yeah. I had to make that that was my son, because you know, they might have made a mistake, but yes it was.
Were you, could you stay there for a while with him?
Yeah, as long as I wanted to stay there, yeah.
And could you stay on your own?
They, she stayed at the back, but she wasn’t intrusive, she was right at the back of the room, so she was in there, but she, although on that particular day the first day, she, she stayed in there, but on the other occasions when I went, I was on, there was no-one, I could go in on my own there was no-one else there.
So you went back to see him on other occasions?
I went back every day to, every day till we buried him, yeah.
And his, his friends, I allowed his friends to see him. I allowed anyone who wanted to see him could see him.
Did you find it comforting to be there with him?
Or was it just that you still wanted to persuade yourself that he’d really died?
Yeah, I think it was probably in my, you know sort of, it was him, and even though he had lots of injuries and you know, he had a massive like head injury and had snapped his leg, and all down his left side was completely injured, sort of squashed was a better word for it, but it was still him. And even after a week being in Iraq it was, it was still, it was still Dave.