27/11/2012 07:16 GMT

Emma Hickman Wins DNA Fight To Prove Fiance Killed In Afghanistan Fathered Their Daughter

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

Emma Hickman, 19, couldn't officially name Private Daniel Wade as the father of five-month-old Lexie-Mai because of a legal wrangle over his DNA.


Emma Hickman with her baby daughter Lexie-Mai

Pte Wade, of 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, died in a Taliban bomb attack in March, three months before his daughter's birth.

Because he and Miss Hickman were unmarried, she had to press the Ministry of Defence to release his DNA so she could prove paternity and name him on the birth certificate.

Prime Minister David Cameron last month pledged to tackle the "dreadful situation", saying it "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.

emma hickman

Lexie's father died three months before she was born

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 was so looking forward to being a daddy. He 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 QualitySolicitors Forshaws Davies Ridgway in 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.

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 has backed her legal battle and believes the MoD should always hold DNA of troops sent to war zones to prevent a repeat situation.

Speaking at defence questions in the Commons today, he 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: "The case in question has been a long journey but I believe we are nearly there."

He added: "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."