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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 February 2007, 16:29 GMT
Afghan patrol death 'accidental'
A British soldier was killed after his vehicle hit a tractor while driving on the wrong side of the road in southern Afghanistan, an inquest was told.

Lance Corporal Peter Craddock, from 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment, died in Helmand Province on 27 March 2006.

His Land Rover was travelling to provide cover for a patrol when an Afghan tractor turned into his path.

An accidental death verdict was recorded for the Berkshire 31-year-old.

L/Cpl Craddock, from Newbury, was on his final patrol before completing a six-month tour of duty when he died in Laskar Gah, the capital of Helmand province.

On Thursday, the Oxford inquest heard that his Land Rover was overtaking the Snatch Land Rover patrol to reach a point ahead and provide cover when a tractor turned into its path.

It was a very unlucky set of circumstances
Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Selena Lynch

Pte Anthony Fahy, the Land Rover's driver, said he had sounded his horn.

He said: "I assumed he had stopped because he had seen me.

"I carried on going but by the time I got closer I realised he had not stopped so I swerved left and he hit my rear right side."

The Land Rover flipped onto its roof and L/Cpl Craddock was crushed underneath.

The tractor driver, Abdul Hai, said in a statement read to the inquest: "As far as I am concerned the accident was caused by the military vehicles travelling on the wrong side of the road.

"I didn't look along that way because I didn't expect vehicles to be travelling from the left."

Tinhead

Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Selena Lynch said L/Cpl Craddock, who was in command of the Land Rover, was not to blame.

"It was a very unlucky set of circumstances," she said.

L/Cpl Craddock - known as Tinhead to his friends because of his love of biscuits - had been in the Army for more than eight years and had served in Northern Ireland and Kosovo.

His commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel David Brown, described him as "a huge character".




SEE ALSO
Afghan road death soldier named
28 Mar 06 |  South Asia

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