Paternity victory for fallen soldier’s partner

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A young mother has won her fight to prove her fiancé fathered their daughter before he was killed in Afghanistan.

Emma Hickman, 19, who was engaged to Private Daniel Wade, from Warrington, struggled to officially name him as the father of five-month-old Lexie-Mai because of a legal wrangle over his DNA.

Pte Wade, of 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, was one of six soldiers killed in a Taliban bomb attack in March, just weeks after his deployment and only three months before his daughter’s birth.

Because he and Miss Hickman were not married, she had to press the Ministry of Defence to release his DNA and prove paternity so she could name him on the birth certificate.

Prime Minister David Cameron last month said the “dreadful situation” “could not be allowed to continue”.

Officials have now released a sample proving Pte Wade was the father – and making Lexie-Mai and her family, from Warrington, eligible for compensation.

Miss Hickman said: “It has never ever been about the money; it is about Lexie-Mai’s right to know who her father is.

“Dan used to carry her scan picture with him under his body armour when he went out on patrol. He helped me choose her name and was so proud he was going to be a father.”

Miss Hickman’s solicitor, Jennifer Roulston, of Warrington, said: “It is appalling that Emma’s trauma at losing her fiancé just before the birth of her daughter should be compounded by this legal wrangle to establish her fiancé’s paternity.

“Emma is so relieved she can finally enter his name on her daughter’s birth certificate.”

Pte Wade, 20, died with five comrades in Helmand when his Warrior armoured fighting vehicle was blown up by a roadside bomb.

Miss Hickman’s MP, David Mowat, had backed her legal 
battle and at defence questions in the Commons called for Ministers to consider “asking the Army to routinely hold DNA samples for those on active duty, in the same way they do in France and America”.

Defence Minister Mark Francois told him: “It is current MoD policy to offer all military, deployable MoD civilians and other entitled personnel the opportunity to provide reference samples suitable for DNA analysis.

“This is entirely on a voluntary basis and it is to enable identification post-mortem should that unfortunately be required.

“This policy is under review and I can confirm the United States position is being considered. I expect this work to be complete by the spring of 2013.”