ROYAL Marine Luke Taylor was shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier with a personal grievance, an inquest was told yesterday.
Sergeant Taylor, 33, from Burton, was killed at a forward operating base in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, on March 26 last year, alongside 25-year-old Lance Corporal Michael Foley of the Adjutant General’s Corps.
The inquest at Oxford heard that their killer, a sergeant in the Afghan National Army, was waiting outside the base with other men to collect a VIP, and became increasingly agitated as they were not allowed inside.
Shortly after 10am a nearby gate was opened as a local interpreter was escorting a civilian from the base, and the man burst through, firing a machine gun.
Sgt Taylor was hit in the left side of his chest with the bullet damaging his lung and aorta, and died instantly.
LCpl Foley, a married father-of-three from Burnley, Lancashire, was hit in the head. Their killer injured another serviceman, who has subsequently recovered, before being shot dead.
Deputy coroner Alison Thompson said: “That opening of the gate provided an opportunity for a man with intent.
“It is not for me to make criticism of the soldiers and the way they operated, or attack individuals in relation to their responsibility for this tragic event.”
She added: “The ANA soldier was believed to be acting on his own with a personal grievance, rather than with insurgents.
“This was a shocking, appalling, unexpected thing to happen.”
Sgt Taylor, who left behind his wife Niki, whom he married in 2008, and their young son Roan, had been a Royal Marine since 1997 and was on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan.
More than 650 people packed Christchurch Priory for his memorial service on April 12, with many more gathered outside.
He was well known in Bournemouth and Christchurch as he threw himself enthusiastically into the life of the community, joining sports clubs including the Oakmeadians Rugby Club, and organising events in his home village as part of the ‘Burton Boys’.
The coroner ruled that both men were unlawfully killed while on active duty overseas.