Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:10 UK

Killed soldier 'epitome of hero'

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Gary O'Donnell died in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008

A soldier from Warwickshire has been described as "the epitome of a hero" at an inquest into his death.

Bomb disposal expert Warrant Officer Gary O'Donnell, 40, was trying to clear a path for fellow soldiers when he died in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008.

An inquest concluded that the father-of-four, who lived in Leamington Spa, was killed by blast wounds.

Corporal Andrew James Cobb said he was "immensely proud" to have worked with the soldier, originally from Edinburgh.

His widow, Toni, also paid tribute to a "wonderful husband".

WO O'Donnell was posthumously awarded with a Bar on his George Medal in March.

'Saved lives'

Speaking after the inquest at the coroner's court in Leamington, Mrs O'Donnell said: "He was very brave. I know how brave he is now.

"It's nice to know he was respected and everybody liked him.

"When he walked into the room you knew he was there. He was wonderful."

WO O'Donnell served with the Royal Logistic Corps based in Didcot.

He died in September after being called to a suspected explosive device which he tried to dismantle.

Cpl Cobb said: "Every time he was on the ground removing a device, he without a doubt saved lives.

"He was the epitome of a hero."



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