Cpl Mark Palin killed leading disposal team to bomb haul

Cpl Mark Palin, 1 Rifles
Image caption Cpl Palin was killed instantly in the explosion, the inquest heard

A soldier died after volunteering to lead bomb disposal experts to a major haul of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Afghanistan, an inquest has been told.

Cpl Mark Palin of the First Battalion The Rifles, triggered an IED hidden in a ditch in Helmand Province last July.

The 32-year-old, who lived near Chepstow but was originally from Plymouth, died instantly.

Plymouth Coroner Ian Arrow recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

The inquest at Plymouth's Civic Centre heard that 1 Rifles had received intelligence that a stash of bomb parts, including pressure plates, was being hidden near the village of Kokaran.

Troops were sent to guard the area and the next morning - 18 July - a team of sappers and bomb disposal experts arrived to remove them.

Cpl Palin's unit was assigned to bring them to the cache and he volunteered to lead the group.

'Loud explosion'

In a statement read to the inquest, Sapper Stephen Burletson said Cpl Palin decided to check their position on a map, which was in a pocket on his armour.

"I recall seeing Cpl Palin rocking back and forth as he was trying to get the map back in his pocket and he was fiddling with his rucksack," he wrote.

"Then I heard a loud explosion. It took a few seconds to work out what was happening.

"When I turned around to the direction where Cpl Palin lay there was a large crater."

Cpl Palin, a married father-of-two whose wife Carla was pregnant with their second child, was laid to rest in Plymouth in August.

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