Friends of killed soldier join forces to raise money

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FRIENDS and former colleagues of a soldier killed in Croatia are banding together in the hope of raising cash for charity in his honour.

Simon Jeans, an army private with the Royal Logistics Corps, died when he was attacked by thugs while serving in Bosnia in 1996.

This month, one of the men behind the attack on the 25-year-old was finally sent to prison after 16 years of courtroom battles.

Now a group of soldiers who served alongside Pte Jeans have come together to celebrate his memory.

They hope to raise money for charity in his honour, possibly taking part in this year’s Great South Run.

Within a week, 140 of Simon’s former friends and colleagues have signed up to a Facebook group in his name.

The group was started by army sergeant Julie Read, who is based in Germany and used to serve there alongside Simon.

The 38-year-old said: ‘It will be nice for people who have been following his story to know Simon had a lot of friends and they are still thinking about him.

‘A lot of them are still in the army but some of them have moved on.

‘Everyone remembers him and it has been great hearing all the stories people remember about Simon.

‘We were devastated when it happened because he was such a nice guy.’

Pte Jeans was serving in Bosnia when he crossed into Split, Croatia for a charity run to raise money for an orphanage.

He was enjoying a night out with a group of soldiers on September 8, 1996, when they were attacked by a group of thugs. He was taken back to the UK but died of a brain haemorrhage.

As previously reported, one of the men involved in the attack was finally sent to prison earlier this month.

Dejan Skaro was convicted of causing injury to Pte Jeans.

He was originally given a suspended sentence but the Croatian Supreme Court overturned this.

Skaro will now spend 18 months in prison.