A Midland soldier cleared of killing a teenage looter in Iraq is quitting the Army in disgust.
Irish Guardsman Martin McGing (pictured), from Dudley, was acquitted at a court martial this week of being involved in the death which happened three years ago.
Martin, aged 22, who now plans to join the police after returning to Dudley, yesterday labelled the court martial a farce and said "the Army hung me out to dry".
And he warned other soldiers heading for Iraq to hire a good lawyer in case the Army stabbed them in the back.
Martin was part of a four-man crew in a Warrior armoured vehicle who arrested 15-year-old Ahmed Karheem and three others as they looted a warehouse.
Karheem drowned after the looters were allegedly marched at gunpoint into the Shatt al-Basra Canal in Basra.
A military court martial found all four not guilty of the death at a hearing on Tuesday.
Martin, who now plans to marry girlfriend Kerry Hensman, aged 21, hit out at the Army's decision to prosecute him and his colleagues.
He said: "My life has been on hold for the past three years.
"I am very bitter about the way the Army treated us just for doing our duty.
"I always wanted to be a soldier - that's why I joined up at 17. But now I look at things very differently - the Army hung me out to dry.
"They put me in court and this has been hanging over me and my family for three years. The Army wanted to see us behind bars."
Guardsman McGing said he and his fellow accused - Colour Sgt Carle Selman, aged 39, Lance Corp James Cooke, aged 22, and Guardsman Joseph McLeary, aged 24 - should never have been brought before the court martial. But he was full of praise for his regiment.
"The Irish Guards stood by us. The regiment has been loyal since I joined up."
Martin said he now wanted out of the Army as soon as possible and would be handing in his uniform and saying his farewells within the next few weeks.
Kerry, a sales administrator, said: "I am glad Martin is quitting the Army. We have both been living a nightmare for three years."
The Attorney General yesterday defended the decision to prosecute three soldiers, however, despite them having to wait three years for their acquittal.
Lord Goldsmith said he was entirely satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to warrant proceedings against the Guardsmen.
Lord Goldsmith said:"I'm quite satisfied it was quite right to bring the case because there was sufficient and credible evidence of wrongdoing."
However, Shadow Defence Minister Gerald Howarth said he believed the case should never have been brought.
He said: "I think it will certainly be of great concern to the public that here were three men who were doing their duty to their country, and three years after they faced very difficult conditions out in Iraq they have now finally be cleared.
"The good news of course is that they have been cleared. The bad news is that the case was felt necessary to bring in the first case."