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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008, 16:50 GMT
Soldier unlawfully killed on duty
Drummer Thomas Wright
Drummer Wright's vehicle was in a convoy that was bombed
A soldier who died while on patrol in Afghanistan was killed unlawfully while in active military service, a coroner has ruled.

Thomas Wright, from the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters, died in Helmand province on 22 June 2007 when his Land Rover was caught in an explosion.

Coroner Robert Hunter said the Taleban blatantly disregarded human rights.

The bombing of the convoy in which Pte Wright, 21, was travelling was a "wicked and despicable act", he said.

Multiple threats

Drummer Wright's armoured Snatch Land Rover was escorting a military team surveying the site for a new road project linking several Afghan villages in the Babaji area when it was caught in an explosion.

Four other soldiers were injured in the blast.

When Pte Wright was dragged from beneath the vehicle, he had severe injuries to his face, spine, chest and limbs, the inquest at Derby Coroner's Court heard.

Major Paul Gilby, operational commander for C Company 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment, told the inquest his troops had faced various threats from the Taleban, including suicide bombs and mines.

However, roadside bombs had become more popular.

Parents' grief

He said Pte Wright was an "excellent, outstanding" soldier.

In a statement issued at the hearing, Mr Wright's family from Ripley said: "As a family we were devastated by the death of Tom.

"He was very much loved and is greatly missed by all who knew him.

"We take great comfort from the knowledge that Tom died doing the job he loved, surrounded by his courageous colleagues.

"We are confident that everything possible was done for Tom and the only people we blame for the death are those who planted and detonated the roadside device."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Thomas Wright died when his army vehicle was blown on top of him



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