Soldier was 'unlawfully killed'

The mum of a solider who was killed in Afghanistan has thanked his colleagues who tried to save his life!

22 year old Trooper Phillip Lawrence, originally from Birkenhead but was based and lived in Swanton Morley in Norfolk died on July 27th 2009 after the vehicle he was driving was hit by an explosion.

Today (Wed) an inquest into his death was held at Wallasey Town Hall where five service men gave evidence into the circumstances of Phillip's death.

Tpr Lawrence was driving a lightly armoured Scimitar vehicle when it was caught in a huge explosion caused by an improvised explosive device which detonated directly under where he was sitting.

Corporal Mark Bowman of the Light Dragoons was sitting in the passenger seat when the explosion happened in a small compound near Lashkar Gah in the Helmand province: "We were about five kilometres south-west down the Babaji road.

"I remember looking down to the map then feeling a huge force from underneath and I knew exactly what it was.

“I always had the thought of what would I do if I was hit by an IED, and I thought of pushing myself under the turret and that's what I did.

"The blast knocked me out for about 10 seconds. When I came around I could hear screaming from my gunner so I knew he was all right.

"I could see green smoke inside and hear beeping but everything else was completely silent.

"I called out. I had quite a few injuries but I wasn't concerned about them. I was concerned about Tpr Lawrence because I couldn't hear him.''

Tpr Lawrence was unconscious and pinned into the seat as the mountings underneath had bent and twisted so it was unable to release him.

Colleagues from the Light Dragoon Guards and the Mercian regiment, along with RAF and US Air Force soldiers all tried to save him but a British doctor who was called to the scene pronounced him as dead inside vehicle.

In a post mortem examination back in the UK the cause of death was given as 'Multiple injuries following an explosion."

US Air Force specialists who analyse IED's found that it was a 'Command Line IED' which meant it was detonated by someone not by a pressure pad or trip wire. Inspection of the scene found a cable which lead into an orchard where a Taliban soldier had hidden themselves to fire the device some 30 meters away.

After hearing evidence from five army officers who were all there during the incident, Wirral Coroner Christopher Johnson recorded a verdict of 'unlawful killing while on active service'. He also thanked the soldiers for their 'impressive evidence' and paid tribute to Phillip Lawrence calling him "a very brave soldier."

Speaking after the inquest on the steps of Wallasey Town Hall on the Wirral, his wife Amy Lawrence said that he died doing the job which he loved: "That was the career he wanted to do and he had a good career ahead of him and he died fighting for his country.

"More importantly he died trying to make a difference to a different country."

His mother Gaynor Taylor cried as she thanked colleagues who tried to save his life: "They gave 110%, they never ever gave up on him even at the end.

"Right until the end they looked after him.

"I wanted to know that he never suffered and he was never alone, and he was neither one of those and I'm so grateful as a mum."