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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Iraq soldier 'unlawfully killed'
Private Luke Daniel Simpson
Pte Simpson was known as "Boob" to friends
Soldiers caught up in a road side bomb attack in southern Iraq have told an inquest how they battled to save their injured colleague's life.

Private Luke Simpson, 21, from Howden, East Yorkshire, died when a device detonated close to the armoured vehicle he was driving in Basra on 9 February.

An inquest in Hull heard how colleagues tried to resuscitate him by the roadside but he died later in hospital.

Coroner Geoffrey Saul recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Pte Simpson was a member of the 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment.

The inquest heard he was driving the lead vehicle in a convoy of three Snatch Land Rovers returning to their base at Basra after a routine patrol to an Iraqi police station.

Trouble breathing

About 10 miles away from Basra Palace, Pte Simpson's vehicle was hit by an explosive device.

The inquest heard he managed to keep control of the vehicle long enough to bring it to a stop by the side of the road, before slumping across the front seats with severe injuries.

Three other soldiers suffered serious injuries in the attack.

British soldiers on patrol in Iraq
The soldiers were on patrol about 10 miles from Basra Palace

Captain Ibrar Ali, the vehicle's commander, had his right hand amputated, Private Paul Davey had shrapnel in both legs and underwent surgery and Private Christopher Herbert's right leg was removed just below the knee.

The other two Land Rovers in the patrol were also targeted but their occupants escaped injury.

A statement from Private Cameron Pierre, the driver of the second vehicle, told how he talked to Pte Simpson and held his hand for about 45 minutes before he started to complain that he was having trouble breathing.

Colleagues 'crying'

Private Nathan Rider told the inquest that Pte Simpson was removed from the vehicle when he started to lose consciousness, and his colleagues began mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

The coroner heard that the soldiers became "distressed, they were crying and struggling" when they realised Pte Simpson was no longer breathing.

A helicopter arrived after about 90 minutes and took Pte Simpson to hospital.

But Tim Jackson, a consultant at Hull Royal Infirmary, told the inquest that had Pte Simpson received immediate medical treatment he was unlikely to have survived.

A post-mortem examination found he died from blood loss due to blast wounds to the pelvis and lower limbs.

The coroner said: "Luke, I understand, enjoyed his life in the Army. He died doing his duty in the presence of comrades doing the job that he'd chosen."


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