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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Muslim soldier's death 'unlawful'
L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi
The inquest heard special clothing would not have saved L/Cpl Hashmi
A verdict of unlawful killing has been recorded on the first British Muslim soldier to be killed during the conflict in Afghanistan.

L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi, 24, of Bordesley Green, Birmingham, died during a rocket attack on a building on 1 July 2006, an inquest at Oxford Coroners Court heard.

The same verdict was also recorded on his colleague, Cpl Peter Thorpe, 27, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

Coroner Andrew Walker said the attack was "nothing short of murder".

Less severe

A Chinese-made rocket blasted through a wall on an observation post in Sangin, Helmand Province, as a compound came under fire from Taleban fighters.

It exploded inside, showering soldiers with shrapnel.

The hearing was told the pair, who were both serving with the Intelligence Corps, had direct orders to be wearing body armour, but neither had it on when the rocket hit.

Mr Walker, assistant deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, said it highlighted "failings in the chain of command".

He said if Cpl Thorpe had been wearing protective clothing his injury might have been less severe.

Cpl Peter Thorpe
Cpl Thorpe joined the army in August 1995

But the inquest heard that such clothing would not have saved L/Cpl Hashmi.

Maj William Pike admitted the fact they were not wearing body armour was a failure, but said there was also "individual responsibility" on the soldiers to ensure they wore it.

Maj Pike said when darkness fell Cpl Thorpe and L/Cpl Hashmi were in an outbuilding which also had soldiers on the roof.

An interpreter was also killed almost instantly in the incident.

The inquest heard that both soldiers were part of a 150 strong force which had been involved in fierce fighting with the Taleban in the days leading up to the fatal attack.

Forensic pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt said L/Cpl Hashmi died from a shrapnel wound to the neck. Cpl Thorpe died from a projectile wound to the chest.

Pakistani born L/Cpl Hashmi had been in the army since 2004 and was posted to the Royal Signals in January 2006.

Military parachutist

His brother Zeeshan and three sisters said in a statement at the time of his death: "Our brother was proud of his role as a serving soldier and looked forward to his deployment to Afghanistan.

"He felt privileged to represent the Army as a Muslim British Pakistani who wanted to use his background and position to contribute at a time where there exists a lack of understanding of cultures, ideologies and religious identities."

L/Cpl Hashmi's sisters accompanied their mother at the inquest on Thursday.

Cpl Thorpe joined the army in August 1995 and had already served on tours in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. He was also a qualified military parachutist.



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