‘Those who killed my son and 297 others must be held to account’

Jeremy Pocock

Jeremy Pocock

The father of Ben Pocock has given a moving interview to the BBC’s Newsnight in which he said whoever was responsible for the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine which killed his son and 297 others must be held to account.

Jeremy Pocock also recalled his final moments with his son at Bristol Airport – and how he heard about the plane crash on his way home from work, as his train was pulling into Keynsham Station.

Ben, who was 20 and a former pupil at Wellsway School, was on his way to Perth to study at the University of Western Australia when the plane was shot down. The exact cause of the Malaysia Airlines crash on 17th July is still unclear, but a missile attack by Russian-backed rebels is suspected.

Interviewed by Kirsty Wark for Newsnight last night, Jeremy Pocock said: “The most important question for me and for my family and all the families I should imagine, is ‘What happened and who did it?’. They must be held to account. That’s the bottom line.”

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Ben was formally identified in October and his funeral was held on 1st December at St John’s Church in Keynsham.

But his father said in the interview: “Only a few days ago we were informed that there are another 700 fragments of human tissue or bones yet to be identified and that’s a process that’s going to go on until April or May.

“So there are a lot of families that are going to be receiving news of yet more identifications over the coming months and we may be one of them.”

The Netherlands suffered the highest death toll in the disaster and is leading the international investigation into the crash and identification of the victims. So far investigators have found that high-energy objects struck the plane and caused it to break apart.

The first sections of wreckage arrived in the Netherlands earlier this month. The wreckage could provide more clues about the cause of the crash, and investigators will reconstruct parts of the Boeing 777. The final report is expected next summer.

In the interview broadcast last night, Mr Pocock told how he and his wife Louise had dropped Ben off at Bristol Airport early in the morning of 17th July:  “He was just so excited…We got to Bristol Airport and we sorted out his tickets and I think his Mum would have quite liked to have a last-minute cup of coffee with him before going off but I could see that he was just so impatient, that he just wanted to get off into the departures lounge and so we said our goodbyes, we had a hug and that was it.

“We watched him go off into departures and that was it, we never saw him again.”

Mr Pocock said he found out about the plane crash later that day as his train was pulling into the station after work: “I thought, oh, I‘ll just check my phone, have a look at the Twitter feed, and it was on there, BBC Breaking News, a Malaysian flight had crashed, and I just knew in that second that it was his. Even though I couldn’t quite recall the flight number, I just knew immediately that it was his flight.”