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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 21:14 GMT
Open verdict on Scots Iraq death
Lance Corporal James McCue
L/Cpl McCue was believed to have been writing a letter when he was hit
A coroner has recorded an open verdict on the death of a Scottish soldier killed in Iraq on the last official day of the conflict.

It is believed Lance Corporal James McCue, 27, from Paisley, was writing a letter home when a shell landed just metres from him in April 2003.

He bled to death following shrapnel wounds to his chest and liver.

Oxford coroner Nicholas Gardiner said L/Cpl McCue was "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer was in his tent in Al Amarah holding a pen when the shell landed nearby.

Mr Gardiner speculated the shell may have been fired by local children clambering over an abandoned tank.

At the inquest in Oxford Mr Gardiner also said two other servicemen, Private Marc Ferns from Glenrothes and Captain David Jones from Lincolnshire, were unlawfully killed.

Pte Marc Ferns
Pte Marc Ferns was killed in a roadside bomb blast

Pte Ferns was conducting his second tour of duty in Iraq with the Black watch when a makeshift bomb exploded next to his Warrior armoured fighting vehicle on 12 August last year.

The 21-year-old was conducting a routine peacekeeping patrol in Basra when he was killed.

The inquest heard that electronic detection equipment designed to protect troops against roadside bombs was not fitted to the vehicles being used by either Capt Jones or Pte Ferns at the time of their deaths.

He had previously served there with the regiment during the initial period of major combat operations in the spring of 2003.


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