Padiham mother calls for change following son's unlawful killing in Afghanistan (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Padiham mother calls for change following son's unlawful killing in Afghanistan
11:00am Monday 16th September 2013 in News
THE MOTHER of an army sergeant gunned down by a rogue Afghan policeman said she hoped lessons had been learned from his death.
Sgt Gareth Thursby, 29, died of multiple gunshot wounds after the man suddenly opened fire on him at a checkpoint in Helmand Province on September 15 last year.
An inquest, held on Thursday, ruled that the two solders, both from the 3rd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, had been unlawfully killed.
Sgt Thursby’s mother Caroline Whittaker, who lives in Victoria Road, Padiham, said: “I just hope something changes and it doesn’t happen again. I think Afghans should be disarmed before going into army camps.”
She has already spoken to military officials, who are investigating what can be learned from the men’s deaths.
Sgt Thursby, from Skipton, was killed along with his colleague, Private Thomas Wroe, 18, from Holmfirth.
Oxfordshire Assistant Coroner Alison Thompson said that, although there was no apparent motive for the Afghan man opening fire on British troops, there was no established link between him and the insurgency in Afghanistan.
The inquest heard that a third soldier was injured after being shot several times in the incident.
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Ms Thompson said: “It is often difficult if not impossible to establish motivation in this sort of case, making it especially hard for families to come to terms with the death.
"And I am sorry that I am not going to be in a position to provide a reason for this appalling attack as I have heard no evidence as to why it took place."
The Oxford inquest was also attended by the parents of Kingsman Ryan Ward, who shot the Afghan gunman dead, but later killed himself.
An inquest into the 20-year-old's death previously heard that he was found hanged at his family home the day after Sgt Thursby's funeral in Skipton.
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