Lancashire soldier shot dead was 'heroic beyond belief'

image captionA verdict of unlawful killing was recorded

A soldier who died as he led his men in pursuit of the Taliban was "heroic beyond belief", a coroner said.

Lance Sergeant David Walker, 36, of 1st Battalion Scots Guards, was killed on 18 February.

An inquest at Blackburn Town Hall heard he was shot in the head as he and his team tried to push back the insurgents in the Nad Ali area of Afghanistan.

The father-of-five was from Glasgow but had lived in Blackburn, Lancashire, with his wife Teresa.

Coroner Michael Singleton paid tribute him, after returning the verdict that he was unlawfully killed.

"His heroism was beyond belief. If he was anything like the man I can picture today, he was extraordinary," he said.

'Tough as old boots'

The coroner also read out a tribute from the Commanding Officer of the battalion.

Lieutenant Colonel Lincoln Jopp said that his overwhelming memory of the soldier was that he was "as tough as old boots".

"He was one of those people you need for the toughest times. Unflinching, steady as a rock and just as hard.

"He was just what the world would expect when they hear the phrase, 'a Sergeant in the Scots Guards'," he added.

The inquest heard how the group came under fire as they left their patrol base, and dived into a ditch for cover.

Guardsman Syed Raza told the court L/Sgt Walker was shouting for his men to take cover and telling them to keep as low as possible just before he got shot.

He said: "Bullets were still hitting the ditch near him. Suddenly his head jerked back and he slumped forward."

L/Sgt Walker, who previously served in Iraq, was killed instantly and there was nothing his colleagues could have done to save him, the court heard.

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