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Times takes OBE fight to Downing Street

The Wiltshire Times has taken its fight to strip an Army officer of his OBE to Downing Street.

Readers of the paper reacted with outrage when Lt Col Giles Stibbe was awarded the honour – for services in the former Yugoslavia – in September, three years after he was convicted of dangerous driving after a triple-death crash near Trowbridge.

Following the tragedy he was fined £750, escaping a jail term after being cleared of all three counts of causing death, but families of the victims feel they didn’t get justice through the courts.

And after the Times launched a campaign to get the OBE revoked, more than 1,200 readers signed a supporting petition which has now been delivered to Tony Blair by reporter Jenny Haworth, west Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison, reader Tracey Hedges and Sheri Dicker, whose son Craig was killed in the crash.

Reporter Jenny Haworth said: “The response has been absolutely amazing and it has been one of the paper’s most successful campaigns.

“Signatures were coming in at a rate of knots – and it wasn’t just a case of readers signing their name, they had to cut out the coupon from the paper and pay for the postage.

“It’s touching that so many people felt strongly enough to get involved and is a nice tribute to the families.

“Presenting the views of the community is what local newspapers are all about.”

The newspaper is now waiting for a response from Tony Blair.

If the campaign is successful, Stibbe will be only the second person in history to be stripped of his honour. Lester Piggott’s OBE was revoked in 1985 after he was found guilty of tax evasion.

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