A father has told an inquest that his son, a County Durham soldier who died in a drunken shooting incident at an airbase in Iraq, was "meticulous" about weapon safety.
27-year-old Lance Corporal David Wilson was found slumped at a desk at Basra airbase in December 2008 with a gunshot to his head.
He had become a father 11 weeks before and was an upbeat character with everything to live for, the inquest heard.
His family do not believe he deliberately shot himself, and believe horseplay or an accident could have been the cause.
The hearing was told how military police investigators botched elements of the inquiry, meaning a full picture of what happened that night has been obscured.
He had been drinking vodka - a breach of Army rules - hours before he died and was three times over the drink-drive limit.
"With regards to the Army and weapons, my understanding was that he was meticulous.
"I have difficulty squaring the horseplay with the weapon in drink."
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Robert Hodgson, from Stanley, County Durham, committed the offences on the girls, aged as young as five or six, up to the age of 13.