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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
BBC man 'was unlawfully killed'
Simon Cumbers
Mr Cumbers had covered many major events as a freelancer
A BBC cameraman who was shot dead while filming in Saudi Arabia was "unlawfully killed", a coroner has ruled.

Simon Cumbers, 36, was killed on 6 June 2004 when gunmen opened fire on a news team in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner was seriously injured in what West London Coroner Alison Thompson said was an "opportunistic attack".

The Irish Foreign Affairs Ministry paid tribute to Mr Cumbers as a "brave journalist" who showed "dedication".

Mr Cumbers, from County Meath in the Irish Republic, worked for several years as a radio reporter in his homeland and as a television correspondent with ITN in the UK before retraining to become a cameraman.

Tributes paid

A spokesman for Irish Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, said: "Simon was a very brave journalist working in a very difficult job under very trying circumstances.

It has been a hugely emotional time for all concerned
BBC statement

"He showed a dedication and professionalism to his job that was no surprise to anyone who knew him.

"Today's verdict underlines the difficult job that journalists have to do worldwide and Simon was always determined to bring the truth of international affairs home to people in Britain and Ireland.

A BBC statement said: "It has been a hugely emotional time for all concerned.

"Hopefully, today's proceedings will assist in the healing process."

As a freelancer, he covered events such as the Good Friday Agreement, the Omagh bombing and confrontations at Drumcree.

Militant stronghold

After his death, the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs' Media Challenge Fund was renamed in his honour.

It enables journalists to travel across the world to write features on international development.

Mr Cumbers and Mr Gardner travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2004 following terror attacks in the city of Khobar.

They were in the al-Suwaydi suburb of Riyadh with a Saudi government minder when the attack happened.

The suburb was known as a militant stronghold and at the time was home to 15 of the 26 most wanted men in Saudi Arabia.


SEE ALSO:
Manhunt after attack on BBC crew
07 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Shock over shooting of BBC crew
06 Jun 04 |  Middle East
Obituary: Simon Cumbers
07 Jun 04 |  UK
Profile: Frank Gardner
07 Jun 04 |  UK



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