Funeral Of Dorset Royal Marine

The wife of a Bournemouth Royal Marine shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier paid tribute to the ''love of her life'' as she said her final farewell to him.

n an emotional tribute to Sergeant Luke Taylor, Niki Taylor described her husband as a ''fantastic father'' and her ''best friend''.

The father of one, from Bournemouth, was shot dead at the main entrance to the UK headquarters at Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province on March 26.

Ahead of the funeral service the cortege slowly drove along the High Street to allow local people to pay their respects to the 33-year-old, who joined the Royal Marines 15 years ago.

Hundreds of people, including friends, family and colleagues from the Royal Marines, packed into Christchurch Priory, in Christchurch, with standing room only at the back of the church.

Mrs Taylor, dressed in a smart navy blue skirt suit, clung tightly to the couple's four-year-old son Roan who wore his father's medals on his blue waistcoat. Supported by friends and family they followed the Union flag-draped coffin into the church.

Inside, she choked back the tears as she paid tribute to the man she married in 2008.

''I wanted to be able to stand before you and pay a proper tribute to my husband,'' she said.

''And I wanted to be able to lighten the mood by telling you funny stories. I probably have one for every week of the last ten years, but there are no words worthy of him and nothing suitable that I can think of to explain the perfect man he was to me.

''I can't show you my heart, so you can't see the emptiness that's there. A huge part of me will always be missing. All I can say is that Luke was and will always be the love of my life, my best friend and my soul mate.

''He gave me the greatest gifts that anyone could ever wish for - his love, his devotion, laughter and our beautiful son who he doted on completely.''