Grieving Telford mum calls for more legal help for frontline military staff
The grieving mother of a Telford airman who died in Afghanistan is calling for more to be done to help military staff put their legal affairs in order.
Corporal Brent McCarthy, 25, who was attached to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed while guarding a base in Lashkar Gar in Helmand Province, in May 2012.
He was shot in the chest and legs and died alongside 27-year-old Lance Corporal Lee Davies, after they were attacked by two men in Afghan police uniform.
His mother, Sarah, says she is planning to write to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson after issues with her son's estate.
She said that it is only now, six years after his death, that she has found the courage to speak out after discussions with the Ministry of Defence failed to result in his final wishes being met.
The RAF said detailed responses were provided to the family regarding the matters raised and that the Pensions Ombudsman did not support their case.
Mrs McCarthy, of Priorslee, said: "Brent was saying how dangerous the situation had become and he talked through all of his personal affairs with me and what he wanted to happen if he passed away. He was a very organised person and had signed his will on February 17 the day before his birthday.
"I think the armed forces in their briefing meetings need to impress upon the personnel the importance to filling in details on pension nomination forms especially when they are posted to front lines abroad. If they are deployed or moved they need to stay on top of their affairs.
"Brent made a will making his dad the beneficiary, me his executor, and although he signed the pension nomination he didn't put any names on it which resulted in issues with his estate when he died. I don't think staff are being told that their wills are separate to their pension benefits.
"The whole experience has been very painful for us as a family. It was bad enough that he has died, but there were so many other things that we've had to deal with and this is why I'm speaking publicly about it now because I don't want any other family to go through the same thing.
We are aware of other families in a similar position"Brent had always said he wanted to take his young relatives to Disneyland in Florida when he returned home from the conflict. He wasn't able to do that and I am launching the Brent McCarthy Wish Fund to make his last wishes come true."
In a statement the RAF said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with the family and friends of Cpl McCarthy. We are very aware that we owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have given their lives in the service of our country, and we continue to try and provide the best support we can to grieving families.”
The airman and his colleague were attacked moments after the pair had been posing for photos with their killers who opened fire on them. A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded following his death.
His body was flown into the RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire and hundreds attended his funeral at St Nicholas's Church, in Codsall, where he was buried near his grandparents Leslie and Nancy Steadman.
To donate visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/thebrentmccarthywishfund