Barry soldier shot dead in Afghanistan – inquest reaches verdict
5:25pm Tuesday 5th November 2013 in News
A BARRY soldier was killed unlawfully when supposed allies turned on him in an Afghanistan police station, an inquest has ruled.
Lance Corporal Lee Davies, of Columbus Close, was shot dead by rogue Afghan policemen he had been helping to train, the inquest in Oxford heard today (Tuesday).
L/Cpl Davies was killed just six weeks into his first deployment when supposed allies turned on him in the Afghanistan police station.
Welsh Guardsman L/Cpl Davies, 27, and Corporal Brent McCarthy died in the incident near Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, in May 2012.
The two men were part of an eight-strong patrol that entered an Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP) headquarters where their commanding officer, Lieutenant Ben Bardsley, was attending a meeting with his Afghan counterpart.
On arrival the UK troops entered the compound, with some climbing watchtowers while the two ill-fated men stayed by their equipment on the ground.
Guardsman Josh Foley, who was with the two men before climbing a watchtower, explained that they had tried to engage the Afghans in conversation but they spoke no English and could not understand them.
He described how some photographs were taken with the AUP men holding the British soldiers' AK47s and L/Cpl Davies joked that one of them had urinated on himself.
Oxfordshire senior coroner Darren Salter asked him: "Did it appear from anything you observed they had taken offence or anything like that?"
"No," replied Foley.
Guardsman Matthew Jones, who was in a watchtower, explained what happened next, saying: “Foley came up to my watchtower. As I was about to go down the ladder I could hear gunfire in small bursts. There appeared to be more than one weapon.
"Foley stood up and looked out and shouted something like, ‘They’ve shot two of our boys’.”
He then saw two men in Afghan police uniform running across fields on the far side of the road and fellow guardsman Foley fired at the men, one falling to the ground before getting up and running on.
An interpreter who was present at the scene said that the majority of the Afghan police then "ran off" in the direction of the nearby village, returning shortly afterwards in a car bringing with them the body of a man in Afghan police uniform.
"The second-in-command was claiming to have killed this individual," he said.
A post mortem examination revealed that L/Cpl Davies and Cpl McCarthy had died from multiple bullet wounds, described as "unsurvivable" by the pathologist.
Lieutenant Ben Bardsley said that until the double shooting there had been no sign of any trouble.
He said: "It couldn't have gone better. I never saw even a small argument between us and them and it was largely down to the Guardsmen on the ground, being friendly to them, not being hostile.
"They were doing exactly what I had asked them to do. They were interacting."
The inquest verdict ruled that L/Cpl Lee Davies and Cpl Brent McCarthy were both killed unlawfully.