Army private died after being blown 30ft up a tree after being lured to site of Taliban bombPrivate Matthew Thornton stepped on an improvised explosive device
Regiment had come under fire from grenades and small armsDescribed as 'a cracking soldier who gave 100 per cent'
09:20 GMT, 15 December 2012
The body of a Territorial Army soldier was found 30ft up a tree after his was patrol lured towards a hidden bomb, an inquest heard.
Private Matthew Thornton, 28, was five weeks into a tour of duty in Helmand when he was killed by the huge blast.
A factory worker from Barnsley in civilian life, Pte Thornton was described as 'a cracking soldier who gave 100 per cent' by his Captain Stephen Dando.
Lured to his death: Private Matthew Thornton was with the First Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment when his patrol came under fire from the Taliban
Soldiers told an inquest in Sheffield how he had been patrolling with colleagues from First Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment north of
Checkpoint Loy Mandeh, in Lashkar Gah when they came under attack on November 9 last year.
They took cover behind a wall as Taliban insurgents threw grenades and fired small arms.
But there was a huge explosion after Pte Thornton stepped on a pressure plate-activated
improvised explosive device that was hidden in the undergrowth.
His body was later found around 30ft up in a tree.
Major Stephen Sutherland, a bomb
disposal expert called to the scene in the aftermath, said: 'The
improvised explosive device had been placed in undergrowth beneath the
wall and it could be the grenade rounds were thrown to push the soldiers
into the area.
'The Taliban are very intuitive and
tactically-astute. In the past, devices were two or three kilogrammes
and we saw a lot of amputations. This was of more significant size.
Insurgents are laying large devices to ensure they kill.'
Tribute: Private Matthew Thornton's coffin is carried from All Saints Church in Darton, south Yorkshire after his funeral last year
Proud: Mourners watch Private Matthew Thornton's coffin leave after the church after his funeral last year. His family said he was 'dedicated to serving his country'
A report by pathologist Dr Russell Delaney said: 'There was nothing his colleagues or medics could have done to save his life.'
He added Pte Thornton's death would have been instantaneous, and it was unlikely he would have suffered.
Private Thornton, from Darton, Barbsley, was described as a 'clearly courageous and very special young man' by Deputy Coroner Donald Coutts-Wood, who recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.
After the inquest Private Thornton's dad Mick, mum Susan, brother Nathan and sister Sarah said in a statement: 'Matthew was proud to be part of the Yorkshire Regiment and he carried out his duties with the utmost professionalism.
'He was dedicated to serving his country as a soldier and believed they were making a difference.
The work Matthew spoke about in the short time he had been there was that they had been involved in building bridges and schools.'