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Two soldiers died in night patrol blast, inquest hears

Cpl Lee Brownson and Rifleman Luke Farmer
Image caption Cpl Brownson (L) and Rifleman Farmer (R) died during a night patrol in Sangin

Two soldiers died when an improvised explosive device was set off while they were on night patrol in Afghanistan, an inquest has heard.

Cpl Lee Brownson, 30, from Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, and Rifleman Luke Farmer, 19, from Pontefract, West Yorkshire, died on 15 January.

An inquest heard the soldiers, both from 3rd Battalion the Rifles, were killed instantly in Sangin.

Coroner David Ridley recorded verdicts of unlawful killing for both men.

The inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, heard Cpl Brownson had volunteered to lead the two-hour section night patrol, which was aimed at preventing the Taliban from planting IEDs and reducing their ability to intimidate the local population.

Platoon commander Capt Palmer Winstanley told the hearing Cpl Brownson told him over the radio that the section had come under fire north of the village of Chardah.

The patrol returned fire but a "huge" explosion" occurred, hitting the two soldiers.

The inquest was told the IED was likely to have been a pressure plate the men stepped on, which ignited between three and five artillery shells.

Capt Winstanley said Rifleman Farmer was an "exceptional soldier" and described Cpl Brownson as "outstandingly brave".

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