Colonel Robert Seddon, the former Army Principal Ammunition Technical Officer responsible for dealing with dealing improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan, told the court that one of the reasons he left the army was the death of Captain Dan Reid.
Captain Reid had been wounded while trying to defuse a Taliban bomb, he later returned for another tour of the country during which he was killed. In an emotional piece of testimony Seddon told the court “I don’t mind making life and death decisions about my own life but could no longer do so for others”.
The testimony came during the trial of four senior staff at The Sun newspaper for allegedly being involved in payments to public officials for confidential information. The prosecution say that news of Colonel Seddon’s resignation was leaked to the newspaper by a civil servant Bettina Jordan-Barber in return for cash payments.
Earlier the jury had been shown a BBC Panorama programme which featured Colonel Seddon discussing problems with a shortage of bomb disposal experts in Afghanistan. Defence Counsel, Geoffrey Cox QC, suggested to the court that the leak to The Sun had come from inside the programme’s production team and produced a police statement to the court in which the producer of the programme, Steve Anderson, said he was The Sun’s source for the resignation story.
The former officer said he had told the widow of one of his men killed in action about his decision to resign, but that had been done “in confidence” and he had no knowledge if she had passed the news on to anyone else.
All of the defendants deny all of the charges, the trial continues.