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Last Updated: Friday, 14 March 2008, 20:13 GMT
Troops died searching for bombs
Corporal Paul Joszko (top), Pte Jamie Kerr (left) and Pte Scott Kennedy
The three soldiers died during the explosion
Three British soldiers were killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb after dismounting their vehicle to check for hazards, an inquest has heard.

Pte Scott Kennedy of Dunfermline, Pte Jamie Kerr from Cowdenbeath, Scotland and Cpl Paul Joszko of Mountain Ash, Wales died after the device detonated.

They had been part of a team clearing a route for a supply convoy bound for a coalition base outside Basra.

Recording verdicts of unlawful killing, the coroner praised their bravery.

Pte Kennedy, 20 and Pte Kerr, 20 both served in The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Cpl Joszko, 28, was a member of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales.

They were part of a four-man dismount team attached to the 4 Rifles Battle Group whose job it was to check roads for bombs.

After dismounting from their Warrior armoured vehicle at a junction in the Al Amtahiya district an improvised explosive device (IED) went off, blowing a 3m (9.8ft) wide crater in the road.

Cpl Joszko was standing within a yard of the bomb when it went off on 28 June 2007.

He and Pte Kennedy, nearby, died instantly, their inquest at Trowbridge town hall in Wiltshire heard.

Site of the blast which killed Cpl Paul Joszko, and Ptes Scott Kennedy and Jamie Kerr
Site of the blast which killed the soldiers

Pte Kerr died a short time later. The fourth member of the dismount team, Pte Kieron Flowers, survived with serious injuries.

In a Warrior vehicle behind the dismount team was Paul Brinkworth, a 2 Royal Welsh Pte, who watched as Cpl Joszko raised his arm before he was hit by the blast almost immediately.

"I saw a big orange flash engulf him," he told the inquest.

Major David Austin, of the Royal Military Police, said the bomb was probably triggered by a manually-operated command wire, which could not have been stopped by ECMs (electronic counter-measures) which is hi-tech kit, mounted on British army vehicles, designed to jam remote-controlled detonations.

Reports of Cpl Joszko having raised his arm, apparently having seen something moments before the blast, indicated the device was activated by an insurgent just as it was spotted, Maj Austin told the hearing.

Wiltshire coroner David Masters praised the bravery and courage of the three dead men and their surviving colleagues.

"The probability is that the IED was operated by command wire," he said.

A total of 26 IEDs were either detonated or detected and cleared during the convoy's trip in and out of Basra, the hearing was told.

Before the convoy arrived at base, there were two more roadside explosions. The third caused three non-fatal casualties.

Body armour expert Alan Hepper told the inquest that although they were all wearing the latest protective kit, the three men stood no chance in a such a close-range blast.

The deaths occurred in a period of intense unrest ahead of the coalition's hand-over of Basra to Iraqi control last September.



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