Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Coroner Cries over Death in Afghanistan

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Coroner Cries over Death in Afghanistan

Article excerpt

Byline: Will Metcalfe Reporter THE heroism of a County Durham soldier reduced a coroner to tears as his brave actions were revealed during an inquest.

Capt Richard Holloway, from Hamsterley, in County Durham, died on December 23 last year during an operation targeting a remote Taliban stronghold in a mountainous region used for training and recuperation.

The inquest at Crook Coroner's Court heard how Captain Holloway was shot twice - once in the left thigh and again in the pelvis.

The 29-year-old was hit by a 7.62mm round fired from a lone Taliban fighter's AK47 as he fired off an entire magazine at Captain Holloway's company.

By the time he was found by colleagues he had died as a result of his injuries.

A colleague of Capt Holloway, giving evidence from behind a screen for security purposes, had briefed the troops ahead of the operation and told them that statistically one of the group would be killed and four would be injured.

He said: "Strategically it would buy time for the Afghan government to impose or impart democracy on the Afghan nation. "The Taliban as a whole were conducting highprofile attacks continuously."

The joint operation, between Coalition and Afghan forces, was split into two groups and was part of a major mission supported by helicopter gun crews and air strikes. Capt Holloway led one team which headed south towards a southern compound while the officer, known only as Officer C, headed north as the group hunted four Taliban commanders.

Despite Capt Holloway's death, Officer C said the operation had been successful, with a total of nine Taliban insurgents dead along with a suicide bomber. He added: "This operation was one of many, it's what we do.

"Back at the start I sat the whole group down and said, 'Statistically, one of you will be killed and four injured during the operation.' "It's a risk you take in the job.

"We are not risk averse but we are risk aware."

Officer C said after one compound had been cleared and the groups split he heard gunshots and information over his radio that someone had been shot, but due to the extreme terrain he was unable to get more detail. …

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