Inquest for Yorkshire soldiers

The inquest is due to start into the deaths of two soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan.

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Soldiers were unlawfully killed

A coroner has ruled that two Yorkshire soldiers gunned down by a rogue Afghan policeman inside their checkpoint were unlawfully killed.

But Oxfordshire Assistant Coroner Alison Thompson said that, although there was no apparent motive for the man opening fire on British troops, killing Sergeant Gareth Thursby, 29, and Private Thomas Wroe, 18, there was no established link between him and the insurgency in Afghanistan.

An inquest at Oxford Coroner's Court heard that both men died of multiple gunshot wounds after the man, a member of the Afghan Local Police, opened fire on them at a checkpoint in Helmand Province on September 15 last year. Recording a verdict of unlawful killing for both men, Ms Thompson said:

It is often difficult if not impossible to establish motivation in this sort of case, making it especially hard for families to come to terms with the death. And I am sorry that I am not going to be in a position today to provide a reason for this appalling attack as I have heard no evidence as to why it took place and therefore it would be wrong and improper for me to speculate in any way.

– Assistant coroner Alison Thompson

Soldiers' killer was not considered a 'threat'

An inquest into the death of two soldiers from the Yorkshire Regiment has heard how the rogue Afghan policeman who gunned them down was not considered a threat.

Instead the man who opened fire on Sergeant Gareth Thursby from Skipton and Private Thomas Wrote from Huddersfield was "pro-ISAF" and a "real champion of the partnership" with coalition forces, the inquest in Oxford has been told.

The inquest heard how the Afghan local policeman, who was visiting from another checkpoint, opened fire on the men at the checkpoint known as Tora, in Nahr-e Saraj.

Sgt Thursby, 29, and Private Wroe, 18, were shot at checkpoint in Helmand Province on September 15 last year. The deaths came in a spate of "green-on-blue" attacks, in which Afghans appeared to turn on their British counterparts, in the latter part of last year.

Platoon commander Lieutenant Callum Cameron said Afghan Local Policemen (ALP) were based at checkpoint Tora with British troops, living, working and socialising with them each day. He said the Afghan man who opened fire that day was based at a nearby checkpoint but was well known in the area.

Both Sgt Thursby and Pte Wroe were seriously injured, with their comrades battling to save their lives. They were evacuated by helicopter but did not survive. Lieutenant Cameron said it was a shock that the man had turned on his coalition partners, and could not explain what might have caused it.


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