Daily Express

‘We’ve been lied to and deceived’

Furious war widow’s blast at Rishi Sunak

- By Jan Disley

A WAR widow says she feels cheated after missing out on an £87,000 payment because she remarried after her soldier husband died – despite a personal appeal to Rishi Sunak.

Raqual Harper-Titchener, 48, has now taken her fight to No10 and claims the Prime Minister had promised to look into her case after she spoke to him at a Remembranc­e Day reception.

She said: “I thought it was now or never. I could hear my late husband Matt’s voice in my head saying, ‘You’re not usually so quiet.’


“I have kept my dignity throughout this but I’m so angry now that I had to speak up.” However, Raqual feels she has been let down, adding: “We’ve been lied to and deceived.”

Matt Titchener was 32 and a Royal Military Police officer when he was killed in 2003 in the Iraq War.

Raqual was 28 and pregnant with their second child, a girl she called Angel.Their son Matheson was two.

In 2011 Raqual remarried and had to give up her £7,500-a-year War Widows Pension.

But four years later the government changed the rules so those who find love again can keep the money.

However, this did not help 380 or so widows who had already re-wed. A campaign to include them, backed by the Daily Express, was launched with a victory of sorts earlier this year when the ex-gratia payment was agreed. But the widows had to fight again to stop it being taxed. And now it has emerged that those who get their late husband’s occupation­al – or attributab­le – pension are excluded. Raqual, who is chair of the Army Widows’ Associatio­n, says: “I was flabbergas­ted when I saw the criteria. It means the only group now eligible for the payment are those who lost their attributab­le pensions as well. I only know of about 20 who qualify. We’ve been lied to and deceived.” She added: “It’s never been just about the money. It’s about recognitio­n, although I can’t believe I’m asking to be recognised as a war widow.”

After speaking to Rishi Sunak last month, she says she has heard nothing since. Downing Street has declined to comment.

The Ministry of Defence said: “The eligibilit­y criteria was shared with the War Widows Associatio­n during the developmen­t of the scheme, which provides support to widows who do not receive compensati­on, like their spouse’s attributab­le pension due to forfeiting their entitlemen­t.

“It is part of our commitment to recognise the sacrifice of Armed Forces personnel who died in service and the families they leave behind.”

 ?? ?? Battle...Raqual, above left, with other war widows and at her wedding to Matt
Battle...Raqual, above left, with other war widows and at her wedding to Matt
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