Search Team Soldier Killed in Blast

12 July 2011, 15:52 | Updated: 12 July 2011, 15:54

An inquest has ruled a soldier from Hertfordshire was unlawfully killed while on active service in Afghanistan.

Corporal David Barnsdale, from Tring, was blown up by an improved explosive device (IED) while searching an area to enable a checkpoint to be set up.

The 24 year old, of 33 Engineer Regimentm, was killed last October during the operation north east of Gereshk.

Corporal David BarnsdaleThe inquest at Hatfield today (Tuesday July 12th) heard that the pressure plate he stood on may have been just inside a previously searched area, but insurgents use low metal content to defeat detection. It will have been 5cm-6cm (2in-2.4in) below the ground, primarily designed to be triggered by vehicles.

Sergeant Tyrone Bowers, who was in the Royal Engineers search team (REST), said he had carried out an assessment before the sweep and concluded it was "high risk".

"I don't think we'd ever know whether the pressure plate was inside or outside (the cleared area). The job was going as we hoped, it was just the last one, really," he said.

Mr Thomas said Cpl Barnsdale would have died instantaneously. A pathologist gave cause of death as blast injuries caused by an explosion.

The coroner told Cpl Barnsdale's colleagues: "What has impressed me in this and other inquests is the support that you as colleagues give each other, and the professionalism you show when something happens."

He lightened the sombre mood by referring to Cpl Barnsdale's fondness for Queens Park Rangers, who have been promoted back to English football's top flight since the soldier's death.

He told the family: "How sad that he wasn't here to celebrate Premier League. He would have been ecstatic. I'll think of him when I see the results."