Soldier was executed by Taliban
A young soldier was executed by the Taliban in Afghanistan after leaving his checkpoint to search for some missing kit, an inquest has heard.
After being captured, Highlander Scott McLaren, 20, was tortured and shot five times in the head with an automatic rifle.
The soldier's corpse was then found several hours later by British forces in a nearby river, the inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire heard.
Highlander McLaren, of the 4th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland, had left the safety of his base in the middle of the night to go to find a pair of night-vision goggles which a comrade had left at a nearby vehicle checkpoint.
However, the inquest was told that, when he left his checkpoint in the early hours of July 4 this year, he did not cross a bridge over a canal to get to the vehicle checkpoint but instead was caught on CCTV heading in the opposite direction.
Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner David Ridley said: "It is unclear what Scott was doing that night and sadly the only person who could help us is no longer with us."
The inquest heard that Highlander McLaren was last seen by a comrade shortly before 2am, having finished sentry duty.
"At 5pm that day Scott's body was discovered lying face down in a river approximately four and a half kilometres to the south of the checkpoint," Mr Ridley said.
"At some point after 2.29am but before 2pm Scott had been captured by insurgent forces in the area. Scott was assaulted and tortured before being shot five times at close range on the right side of his neck and head before his half-naked body was further interfered with before being dumped in the river."
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Mr Ridley added: "I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Scott was captured by insurgent forces and ultimately was executed by insurgent forces on the morning of July 4; therefore, for those reasons, the conclusion I am going to record is that Scott McLaren was unlawfully killed while on active service in Afghanistan."