A SOLDIER killed in a late night tragedy at a Dorset accident blackspot has been named as 24-year-old Matthew Cottrell.

The Sapper in the Royal Engineers died in the early hours of Saturday morning after a collision with a single-decker coach on an unlit stretch of the A35.

Sapper Cottrell, who was training at Bovington, leaves a fiancee, Debbie Smith, and a distraught family back home in Southport, Merseyside.

He was preparing to marry sweetheart Debbie Smith while training at Bovington.

Police investigating the accident, which happened between Poole and Bere Regis, said Sapper Cottrell had got out of a taxi halfway home because he did not have enough cash.

News of Sapper Cottrell’s death is thought to have filtered through to Ms Smith while she was holidaying abroad At the family home in Southport, his parents Julie and Steve, and brothers Paul and Luke, were said by neighbours to be “absolutely devastated”.

One neighbour described Sapper Cottrell, who learned a trade as a mechanic before joining the Army as “one of the nicest people you could wish to know”.

Army pal Kristopher Knight told on Facebook how he and colleagues raced to the scene of the collision after news broke.

He said: “There was nothing we could do, we tried to get you round but you were already gone.

“We never stopped and I’ll make sure you get a proper goodbye.

“Our thoughts are with your family and you will never be forgotten. Take it easy, buddy.”

Sapper Cottrell died on a “notorious” narrow stretch of the A35 road, near the Bloxworth turning. It is believed he was walking or running when he was in collision with an Excelsior coach, which was approaching from behind.

Sergeant Dave Stroud from Dorset Police described the accident as a “tragic”.

Spr Cottrell suffered serious head injuries and died at thescene.

The coach driver, a 55-year-old man from Bournemouth, was treated for shock.

There were no passengers on the coach at the time.

An inquest into the death of Sapper Cottrell was opened and adjourned at Bournemouth coroner’s court yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman said: “The cause of death has been given as unascertained waiting toxicology results.”