'Friendly fire' fear over soldier's death

Stuart Nash
Image caption Rifleman Nash joined the Army nine months before he was killed

A soldier who died in Afghanistan may have been killed by friendly fire, an inquest has heard.

Australian-born Rifleman Stuart Nash, 21, of Gloucestershire-based 1st Battalion The Rifles, was shot in Helmand in 2008.

Coroner David Ridley said because he could not be sure the bullet was fired by the enemy, he was unable to record a verdict of unlawful killing.

He recorded a narrative verdict at the hearing in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Rifleman Nash had been taking part in an operation to clear insurgents from the Nad-e-Ali district on December 17 2008, the inquest heard.

He was part of a squad firing on an insurgent target when he was hit as he lay on the roof of a compound.

The inquest heard evidence he was killed by a type of bullet used in British-issue GPMG machine guns.

The inquest heard conflicting evidence as to whether the gunfire in which Rifleman Nash was killed had come from the insurgents immediately to the west of the compound or from Nato forces to the east.

Rifleman Nash was born in Sydney and lived in New South Wales before moving to the UK. He joined the Army nine months before he was killed.

His parents, Bill and Amanda Nash, who live in New South Wales, and sister Charlotte attended the inquest.

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