Gran blows whistle on 'Basra' squaddie


Nice one Gran :thumright:

Gran blows whistle on 'Basra' squaddie

A FORMER squaddie lied about serving abroad and seeing fellow soldiers die in Iraq in a bid to escape an assault charge.
Trying to wriggle his way out of a drunken attack on a police officer, shamed soldier John Parkin claimed he had seen action in war-torn Iraq and had been left shattered by his experiences.

In truth he had never left mainland Britain and his own grandmother contacted police after hearing how he had tried to avoid the rap.

Furious war vets today said he had 'defiled' the memory of genuine soldiers.

John Anthony Parkin had told a court he had turned to drink after losing colleagues and because of the atrocities he saw in Basra when he admitted assaulting Pc Richard Knott in a club.

But Peterlee Magistrates' Court heard the 22-year-old had never left Britain during his time with the army and had been discharged after an incident involving drugs.

His deceit came to light when Parkin returned to the court to be sentenced for the attack on the officer and for being abusive to other drinkers in the Southside Club, in Easington Village, on February 10.

The court heard the defendant's gran called police after reading the story and inquiries were then carried out with the armed forces.

Janet Mason, prosecuting, said: "When this gentleman was at court on the last occasion he advised his solicitor on that occasion that he was heavy drinking and was drunk after a tour of duty undertaken in Iraq.

"That was widely reported in the papers.

"His grandmother saw the reports and was disgusted by it and contacted by police to tell them it was simply not true.

"He had never been out of England and the police made contact with the army and were told he was discharged after an incident with drugs.

"The lie that he told his solicitor and was put before the court seems to have been to try and get a much lower sentence on the back of people who are genuinely putting themselves in harm's way because they are representing their country in armed conflict."

Martin Scarborough, a colleague of the solicitor who represented Parkin during his last appearance, said the firm may have to withdraw from the case after the information came to light.

The court also heard Parkin, who had been staying with his father in Rhyl, Wales, but is now living with his girlfriend in Angus Terrace, Grants Houses, suffers from depression and is an alcoholic.

He had missed several appointments with probation, set up to allow reports to be prepared, leading to his sentencing to be put back to a later date.

It was also said the sentencing guideline of a medium to high community tariff could also change, as this was based on the circumstances read out at court during Parkin's first appearance.

Magistrates were told during that hearing that police had been called to the club after Parkin refused to leave and was described as being extremely drunk.

When officers took hold of him he headbutted a glass door and later spat at an officer as he was put in a cell.

Once sober he told police he had drunk eight cans of lager and a bottle of 20/20 after a row with his girlfriend over money.

Parkin, an agency worker who has previously been employed at TRW in Peterlee and has plans to work in Norway, was released on conditional bail until April 9, when he will be sentenced.

Royal Artillery Association northern region president, Tug Wilson, said: "What he is doing is disrespectful of the guys who have been deployed and done their bit.

"Any man who has been in the military and served actively wouldn't do that and defile the name of the guys."
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