THE family of a soldier killed after he was shot in the head at a British base in Iraq last night criticised the official Ministry of Defence investigation.
Lance corporal David Wilson, 27, of Spennymoor, County Durham, was found dead in Basra on December 4, 2008.
He was found slumped across a table with a single gunshot wound to the head.
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L Cpl Wilson’s Browning 9mm pistol was found close by and he had enough alcohol in his system to be three times the drink drive limit.
An inquest into the death today (Wednesday, February 27) recorded an open verdict.
Coroner Andrew Tweddle said he felt L Cpl Wilson had fired the shot but could find no evidence that he intended to take his own life.
But the Wilson family feel that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided the death was a suicide and did not follow up other angles of investigation.
The inquest heard that MoD investigators failed to do several tasks such as sealing L Cpl Wilson’s hands in bags so they could be checked for gunpowder residue.
Michael Wilson, L Cpl Wilson’s twin brother, speaking after the inquest, said: “We are disappointed that, as a family, we have had to fight so hard for answers.
“From the discovery of David’s body there was an incompetent crime scene investigation.
“This was followed by an, at best, substandard attempt by the MoD to consider the possible causes of David’s death in circumstances where those directing the investigation wrongly closed their minds to there being anything other than one possible explanation.
“This, for us, cannot be the end of this matter. There are now a number of other crucial issues that we as a family must now address before David will truly be able to rest.”
They said L Cpl Wilson was a cheerful person who was due to marry his fiancée Michelle Curry with whom he had a baby daughter Poppy.
The inquest heard that L Cpl Wilson had consumed vodka, in breach of Army rules, with his friend, Warrant Officer 2 Anthony Todd, in the hours before he died.
WO2 Todd said L Cpl Wilson, of the 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, had been alive when he left him.
The inquest heard that Captain Neil Smith, of the military’s special investigation branch, headed the case in Iraq.
He said: “We suspected the injury was self inflicted but all lines of enquiry were considered. I did not close my mind to any possibility.
“All angles that we followed were reviewed and if we received evidence that showed a decision had been made incorrectly then the angle of the investigation would’ve changed.”