Cumbria

Kingsman David Shaw: Soldier killed by 'fluke' Taliban bullet

A soldier was killed by "fluke" Taliban gunfire inside a secure compound in Afghanistan, an inquest has heard.

Kingsman David Shaw, 23, of Barrow, Cumbria, was injured in Helmand Province in January 2013 and died two days later in hospital in the UK.

The base came under attack with two volleys of automatic fire in quick succession and Kingsman Shaw was fatally wounded in the second burst.

The inquest, being held in Barrow, is expected to finish on Thursday.

The compound, built by British Army engineers, was designed to keep out an attack by rocket-propelled grenades.

Bullet 'dipped'

Bullet-proof walls were 12ft high, with the compound being about 50m long and wide.

The inquest heard there was no high ground nearby to give the Taliban any advantage.

A bullet - said to have "dipped" after clearing the wall - entered the back of Kingsman Shaw's neck and exited from the front, having damaged two major arteries and broken bones.

Two Taliban bullets, with a larger diameter than those used by the British Army, were found inside the compound.

One of them had blood on it.

Maj Mark McLellan, the patrol's commanding officer, described it as a "fluke".

South and East Cumbria coroner Ian Smith said "bad luck" was "an understatement", adding: "It's terrible".

Sgt Mark Stevens was also hit, but that bullet struck the body armour on his back and he was only bruised by the impact, the inquest was told.

Kingsman Shaw grew up in Barrow and joined the local Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in 2008.

He was deployed to Helmand Province in October 2012.

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