PM to 'expedite' widow's paternity fight
25 October 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will look to "expedite" a paternity dispute which is denying a war widow compensation to help support the daughter of a soldier killed in Afghanistan earlier this year.
Emma Hickman, 19, was six months pregnant and engaged to Private Daniel Wade, 20, of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, when he was killed, along with five other soldiers, by an Improvised Explosive Device in Afghanistan's Helmand province on 6 March.
The device detonated under a Warrior armoured vehicle that all six men were travelling in at the time.
To date, the Ministry of Defence has refused to help support Hickman's daughter, Lexie-Mai, as it said paternity could not be proved.
The matter was raised at Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons on 24 October by Conservative MP for Warrington South David Mowat.
"The army will not accept paternity without evidence; nor will it release the DNA without a court order," said Mowat. "As a consequence, Lexie-Mai receives nothing."
The Prime Minister said he was "shocked" to hear about the case.
"I will do everything I can to try to expedite a conclusion to it," he said. "…This is an absolutely dreadful situation and it cannot be allowed to continue. The Ministry of Defence is aware of it, and it raises some complicated legal issues, but the reaction from colleagues around the House when my honourable friend said what he said shows that we have to move quickly and get this sorted."
Cameron also said he would also "certainly look at" Mowat's suggestion that the army should routinely hold DNA samples of all service personnel.
A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "There are complicated legal issues affecting this case. We remain in close contact with Miss Hickman and have advised her on how she can take her case forward."