Widow of captain struck by forklift driven by US soldier calls for investigation

Josh Payne, PA

The widow of an army captain who was killed after being struck by a forklift truck driven by US soldier has called for an independent investigation into his death.

Captain Dean Sprouting died after being hit by the vehicle while jogging at the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on January 31, 2018.

Two US soldiers faced charges following the collision, including negligent homicide, but they were dropped after an investigation by an American Brigadier General.

Captain Sprouting’s wife Linda told the PA news agency she had been sent a letter by US Ambassador Woody Johnson last month which said “no disciplinary action was deemed appropriate for the soldiers involved”.

Captain Dean Sprouting’s body was repatriated back to the UK in February 2018 (Corporal Donald Todd/Ministry of Defence/PA)

Mr Johnson told Captain Sprouting’s widow two US Army General Officers reviewed the case and “each, independently, determined that the facts did not support charging the US soldiers involved in this terrible accident”.

Mrs Sprouting has now called on the Attorney General to re-open the inquest into her husband’s death.

She told PA she had been fighting for two-and-a-half years for justice “without any support from the UK authorities”.

Captain Sprouting of the Adjutant General’s Corps at the air base in Iraq was serving with Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Father-of-two Captain Dean Sprouting with his two children, Oliver and Harry (Family Handout/PA)

The father-of-two, of Denny, Stirlingshire, joined the army in 1989 and had served in places including Northern Yugoslavia, Cyprus and Kosovo, Sudan, Angola and Germany.

Mrs Sprouting told PA: “Dean was a wonderful man. He served for 29 years.

“He was my life and a wonderful father to our two boys Oliver and Harry. We miss him so much.

Captain Sprouting’s wife has called for an independent investigation into his death (Family Handout/PA)

“Had he been killed in combat, we would of course had to accept that. But he wasn’t.

“He was killed in a crash and those responsible ran away from an independent investigation into what happened.”

Mrs Sprouting continued: “I have been fighting for justice for nearly two-and-a-half years since he died, almost single-handedly, with little or no support from the UK authorities.

“This is not how people like me should be treated. I hope that the country will see the injustice and help me.

Captain Dean Sprouting served in Northern Yugoslavia, Cyprus and Kosovo, Sudan, Angola and Germany (Family Handout/PA)

“We do not want any trouble. We just want the truth and we can then take things from there.

“Dean’s life mattered. We need answers. I won’t rest now until we get justice for Dean.”

In the letter from Woody Johnson to Mrs Sprouting, seen by PA, the US Ambassador said: “I immediately had my team reach out to the Pentagon’s Office of the Secretary of Defence to better understand the circumstances surrounding Captain Sprouting’s passing.

“As reported back to me, two US Army General Officers reviewed the investigations of this case and each, independently, determined that the facts did not support charging the US soldiers involved in this terrible accident.

“Additionally, a US Army Safety Board also investigated and reached a similar conclusion: that the situation was a terrible, utterly heart-breaking accident. As such, no disciplinary action was deemed appropriate for the soldiers involved.”

Mr Johnson offered Mrs Sprouting a virtual meeting with his Defence Attache, Rear Admiral David Manero, and Army Attache, Colonel Dale Slade to discuss her “concerns”.