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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 September 2007, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Friendly fire death claim probed
Pte Cutts
Pte Cutts was taking part in Operation Snakebite when he died
A British soldier who was killed in Afghanistan may have been shot by his own side, an inquest has heard.

Private Andrew Cutts from Blidworth, Notts, died after being hit by gun fire in Helmand Province on 6 August 2006.

The Ministry of defence said at the time that he "died in action during an operation to disrupt Taleban forces".

The Oxford inquest was adjourned after evidence suggested that the fatal shots may have come from British troops guarding the area.

Pte Cutts was part of a convoy delivering supplies to Danish troops when a burst of machine gun fire was heard.

'Exit wound'

Surviving colleagues told the hearing at Oxford's Old Assizes that the soldier appeared to have been shot from behind as he faced an area where Taleban forces were thought to be. Andrew Walker, assistant deputy coroner for Oxfordshire, said: "It is only now that we have heard that the shots that sadly killed Private Andrew Cutts came from an area opposite to where he was facing.

"It seems that the Royal Military Police must collect further statements about this.

"If Andrew Cutts was facing the direction that Corporal (Shaun) Broom had told him to face, he was shot from a direction that might indicate that the shots came from an area that was possibly controlled by Coalition forces."

Captain Tariq Ahmad, a doctor who certified Pte Cutts' death, said he had mistakenly believed an exit wound above the soldier's eye was an entry wound.

Pathologist Dr Nicholas Hunt told the inquest the soldier appeared to have been shot from behind.

Sgt Steve Beech, of the Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch, said: "In view of our not being able to say with certainty what direction the rounds came from, we need to speak to the men from 3 Para."

Mr Walker adjourned the case until a date to be fixed.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
More on the inquest into the death of Pte Andrew Cutts



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