Belfast Telegraph

Widow weeps as soldier brought home

The widow of a Northern Irish soldier killed in Afghanistan wept as she saw her husband repatriated to the UK, a year after losing their baby daughter.

Lance Corporal Stephen McKee died in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand Province when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED) on March 9.

Family and friends wore bunches of shamrock as they lined the High Street in Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, to watch the cortege pass through the town on St Patrick's Day.

The return of the 27-year-old's body, on the day of the Irish patron saint, was described as "significant", "sad" and "proud".

Carley McKee said in statement that he would always be her hero, and described him as "the best husband, father, son and brother anyone could ask for".

On Thursday, her grandfather, Dominic Fay, 61, said L/Cpl McKee was a "true gentleman" - someone who accepted people the first time he met them.

"He was just a good human being, and I know lots of people say lots of things, and I've listened to many, many school teachers talking about when he was a pupil, but I can truly say from my heart I found him to be an absolute gentleman and kind," Mr Fay said.

L/Cpl McKee and his wife lost their baby a year ago this weekend.

"We thought then that things could never get as bad as what we all went through last year for them, and then for this to happen," Mr Fay said. "My granddaughter's 21 and nobody of her tender years should have to carry the burden that she is carrying with herself at the moment."

L/Cpl McKee's body was flown into RAF Lyneham where a private ceremony was held for his family before the cortege passed through Wootton Bassett.

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