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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 16:24 GMT
Justice hope for soldier's family
L/Cpl Allan Douglas
L/Cpl Douglas was pictured shortly before being killed
A young Aberdeen soldier shot by a sniper as he kept watch on the roof of an Iraqi police station was unlawfully killed, it has been ruled.

L/Cpl Allan Douglas, 22, was serving with The Highlanders when he was shot in January.

A coroner told his family that she hoped the soldier's killer would be brought to justice.

L/Cpl Douglas's parents welcomed the verdict at Oxford Coroners Court, and also a continuing investigation.

The hearing had heard how L/Cpl Douglas had been with colleague L/Cpl Colin Meikle on top of the police station as their commanding officer held a meeting in the building below.

Because the war was over the only proper verdict is one of unlawful killing
Selena Lynch
Deputy Assistant Coroner

The pair were keeping watch and had just begun to dismantle their communications equipment, preparing to leave the station, when a shot rang out.

L/Cpl Meikle told the inquest: "I heard a crack of rifle. I looked up and I heard the thump as the round passed.

"Allan Douglas fell backwards and fell to the ground."

Died later

L/Cpl Meikle said his stricken colleague was unconscious but seemed to be trying to lift his head.

L/Cpl Douglas was airlifted to a hospital in Basra where he died later the same day.

The case stays open. It will never be closed and hopefully they'll catch this guy
Walter Douglas
L/Cpl Douglas's father

The hearing heard Iraqi police were leading the investigation into the killing and that there was a requirement for them to test any high velocity sniper rifle they recovered to see if it matched any death.

Deputy Assistant Coroner for Oxfordshire Selena Lynch said: "This brave young man died while on active service.

"Because the war was over the only proper verdict is one of unlawful killing and I do hope that one day his killer is brought to justice."

'His job'

The inquest had previously been adjourned after his family said an Army representative should appear and explain what was being done to find the killer.

The soldier's father Walter Douglas said: "The case stays open. It will never be closed and hopefully they'll catch this guy."

Relatives said at the time of his death that L/Cpl Douglas had not wanted to return to fight in Iraq.

His mother Diane said following his death: "It wasn't his war. But as he said, he's in the Army, that's his job."

The soldier later had a full military funeral in Aberdeen but without a traditional eight gun salute at the request of his family.


SEE ALSO
Soldier death plea halts inquest
11 Oct 06 |  North East/N Isles
Killed Scots soldier laid to rest
15 Feb 06 |  Scotland
Soldier's family speak of anguish
31 Jan 06 |  Scotland

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