PLATELL'S PEOPLE: At last, the 17-year witch-hunt is over for the hero

PLATELL'S PEOPLE: At last, the 17-year witch-hunt is over for the hero


PLATELL’S PEOPLE: At last, the 17-year witch-hunt is over for the hero Major accused of drowning an Iraqi teenager – but why was he persecuted at all?

Major Robert Campbell is the kind of man we civvies like to imagine leading our Armed Forces. A fine soldier, he has fought alongside his men in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a bomb disposal expert, he was wounded in Afghanistan and awarded gallantry and good conduct honours. He suffers from PTSD, hearing loss and physical injuries.

Yet this man of duty and decency was hounded for 17 years by eight separate inquiries into the death of Iraqi teenager Saeed Shabram.

Some of these spurious actions involved the now-disgraced and struck-off lawyer Phil Shiner, who made thousands of false war crimes allegations against British soldiers.

Major Robert Campbell was hounded for 17 years by eight separate inquiries into the death of Iraqi teenager Saeed Shabram

The MoD believed unsubstantiated claims that Campbell drowned Shabram in 2003. 

This week, a court found that he had in fact tried for 40 minutes to rescue the young man, and that witnesses ‘had colluded and were dishonest’ as long ago as 2006.

Yet Major Campbell was persecuted for 14 more years. Why?

This newspaper has fought tirelessly to clear all those wrongly accused of so-called war atrocities through our long-running campaign, Witch-hunt Against Our Heroes. 

And Campbell’s record speaks for itself. After the alleged murder — for which the MoD paid £100,000 in compensation to Shabram’s family while investigations continued — Campbell rose to the rank of major in 2014.

 Now he has finally been cleared of all charges, Baroness Hallett ruling that there never was any reliable evidence he or anyone under his command was responsible for the death.

But at what cost to this fine soldier? He has been tortured by his treatment at the hands of the MoD. 

This week, a court found that he had in fact tried for 40 minutes to rescue the young man, and that witnesses ‘had colluded and were dishonest’ as long ago as 2006

‘I am angry that it took eight investigations, 17 years and destroyed my career,’ he said. ‘We are in a situation where anybody can accuse you of anything and no matter how absurd it is, nobody is going to help you.’

He is suing the MoD, saying it ‘abandoned’ him. I applaud this and hope he sets up a crowd-funding appeal to pay for his legal costs. I shall be the first to contribute.

How appalling that the MoD has become almost a greater enemy to our troops than the foes against whom they are sent into battle.

Boris Becker denies the charges of hiding assets when he filed for bankruptcy in 2017

 A very different court for Becker

Arriving in court facing seven years in jail if convicted of hiding assets when he filed for bankruptcy in 2017, Boris Becker, who denies the charges, looks haunted. 

Where is the megawatt smile we loved on and off court?

Ten seconds in a posh London restaurant’s broom cupboard, impregnating a model while his missus was carrying their second child, cost him his marriage and £12.5 million, plus his house in Miami.

They say a new broom sweeps clean. In Becker’s case, it cleaned him out.

 Kate’s full monte 

Kate Beckinsale walked the red carpet at the 2020 Monte Carlo Gala in a white and gold sequined sheath dress

Looking stupendous in a white and gold sequined sheath dress, Kate Beckinsale walked the red carpet at the 2020 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health. 

Nope, never heard of it either. But I guess any red carpet will do when you haven’t had a real hit movie since Pearl Harbor in 2001.

 Hats off to a super rat

 Magawa, the giant African pouched rat who sniffed out 39 landmines and 28 items of unexploded ordnance in Cambodia, has been awarded a PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross.

 And it’s about time this oft-derided species had its merits recognised.

Paraphrasing our own most famous rodent, Ratty in The Wind In The Willows: ‘Believe me, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about, not in boats, but in fields full of landmines.’

At 45, David Beckham is still one of the hottest guys on earth, as revealed in pictures he posted of himself working out in his gym, with so many tattoos I can’t see where the inking ends and his trendy beard begins. 

But we must be suspicious of that orange beanie. No man trains in a head-covering unless he has something to hide — perhaps that much-needed hair transplant?

David Beckham, 45 is still one of the hottest guys on earth

Sir David Attenborough’s first post on Instagram soon won him 2.5 million followers, with more than eight million people watching his video cajoling us to join together to

save our planet. No hectoring, just a calm call to take responsibility for our actions. It’s a lesson for all Extinction Rebellion nutters. You win hearts and minds with reasoned argument, not by supergluing yourself to Parliament Square.

Zayn Malik, some bloke from boy band One Direction, releases a pictureof his newborn daughter — unnamed, as is fashionable among ‘famous’ parents. 

Mum’s a model. In the snap, Baby’s tiny hand is clutching Daddy’s hideously tattooed paw. Oh, for the days when third-rate celebs realised no one cared what their kids were called anyway.

 Dispelling rumours that their 34-year marriage is over and husband Sir Trevor McDonald has moved out, wife Jo, 65, insists: ‘We’re selling the house and doing up

another one. I said “WE”.’ Well done Jo for trying to hold on to an 81-yearold who friends say still has a twinkle in his eye. Or is it just a cataract?

More from Amanda Platell for the Daily Mail…

 My current tv obsession is the BBC drama Us, in which Douglas(Tom Hollander) is woken by his wife Connie(Saskia Reeves) to the news that their marriage is over, as she is bored with him now their son is going off to college.

Doug works to pay thebills, is dependable andadores Connie, even if hecan’t articulate it well.

I’m hoping Connie willrealise that, in her orthopaedic shoes and elastic-waist dresses, sheis no longer the kooky, sexy art student he once fell in love with. 

In any relationship, it takes two not to tango.

 Westminster wars

Propably not the best idea for Carrie to be staying at a £600-a-night hotel in Italy with baby Wilfred and her mates in the week Boris was telling us to stay at home. Carrie is a communications whiz but she failed to see how this would look.

When the PM made Rishi Sunak Chancellor seven months ago, he made a huge error. As Boris looks ever more gloomy, Rishi’s rallying cry for us to ‘live without fear’ has bookies rating him the man most likely to become PM before the next election. 

Boris wasn’t in the House to hear the Chancellor’s speech but posing in a police car. Is he planning his own swift getaway?

Spitting Image’s Priti Patel puppet is a vampire. Given that more migrants arrived here this month than in all 2019, the Home Secretary’s bite is about as potent as a flea’s.

Buried in the PM’s anti-Covid fine print is a ban on casual sex. Isn’t that the least likely rule we’d have expected from Boris?

 Too public, Phil? 

This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield broke down on TV revealing that, since he came out as gay in February, his mental health has suffered in lockdown and he was plunged into ‘dark and scary’ places.

Only the support of his co-presenter Holly Willoughby, wife of 27 years Stephanie and grown-up daughters Molly and Ruby got him through.

Over the next few weeks, he says, he will be ‘talking quite a lot about my mental health’.

Jolly good. I wish him well and I’m sure his intention is to help others. But wasn’t the news that Dad was leaving Mum painful enough for his daughters, without him reliving it all on daytime TV?

Yes, it will be ratings gold. But with a fortune of some £2.5 million, surely he has enough cash to do his therapy in private, if only for his children’s sake.

 Royal watch

The Royal Family’s 2019 accounts reveal Harry and Meg’s £246,000 African tour was the costliest royal trip last year. 

It was the best quarter of a million quid we ever spent, as it exposed the Sussexes for what they are: wretched narcissists.

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