A BRITISH soldier who died in a shooting at an airbase in Iraq would have been almost three times over the drink-drive limit, an inquest heard today.
Lance Corporal David Wilson, 27, was found slumped over a desk at the Basra base in December 2008 the morning after an illicit drinking session, the coroner has heard.
At the time the Ministry of Defence said L/Cpl Wilson, who was serving with the 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, was not attacked by enemy forces and "there was no evidence to suggest anyone else was involved".
But witnesses have told the inquest in Crook, County Durham, that a soldier told them at the wake "something happened that shouldn't have happened" while four of them were drinking.
Forensic pathologist Nicholas Hunt said the gunshot passed from above the right temple, back through the brain and out of the left side towards the back of the head.
The pistol muzzle was pressed against the skull, he said, ruling out the possibility of fatal injury being caused by a ricochet from a shot fired by accident.
Tests afterwards showed he had 229mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system. The drink-drive limit is 80mg.
In an extraordinary scene William Boyce QC, representing the family, produced the weapon L/Cpl Wilson apparently used to shoot himself, and pointed it at his own head.
As the dead soldier's fiancee Michelle, his father Ian and identical twin Michael watched, Mr Boyce demonstrated that the angle of the rounds trajectory meant the weapon must have been pointed at an awkward angle for someone intending to shoot himself.
The black Browning 9mm was checked by a firearms expert before Mr Boyce demonstrated it in court.
Friends have said L/Cpl Wilson, who was from Spennymoor, County Durham, and born in Huddersfield, had everything to live for, having seen his daughter Poppy born 11 weeks before he died.
Soldiers on the airbase were only allowed to drink two cans of beer, and that was limited to rare, formal functions, the hearing has heard.
More Crook & Weardale News
- Dales plea to ambulance service
- Ground breaking day for Wolsingham school
- New look outside Willington ground
- Sunnybrow and Willington residents object to revised 150-home plan
- Willington man had sex with underage girl while his partner went to hospital
- Former military man sets up new cycling business in Weardale
- Public meeting held for village's last shop
- UPDATED: Inspector slams council's multi-billion pound blueprint for future of County Durham
- Homeowner left to foot £3,000 bill to reroute drains
- Motivated teenager is fundraising for trip to Ghana
More Spennymoor News
- Tudhoe school items smashed or for sale
- Disgust after burglars steal irreplacable jewellery while couple attend family funeral
- Frozen trio at Spennymoor party
- Share stories of Spennymoor at church events
- Middlestone Moor couple's diamond day
- Volunteers seek £2,000 to complete £25,000 upgrade of Chilton bowls pavilion
- Women deny attempting to seriously harm would-be thief
- Chilton fire authority councillor finally gets smoke alarm
- Final moments of Spennymoor school
- Tickets are still on sale for the England Boxing Youth Championship finals in Ferryhill