Three soldiers shot in their patrol base by a "rogue" Afghan colleague were unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.
Major James Joshua Bowman, Lieutenant Neal Turkington and Corporal Arjun Purja Pun, all of 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles, were killed in the attack on their base in Helmand Province in the early hours of July 13 last year, the inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, was told.
Wiltshire Coroner David Ridley recorded verdicts of unlawful killing for all three soldiers and said: "I am satisfied that all three were killed as a result of the actions of the member of the Afghan National Army (ANA). I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt to that effect and therefore the appropriate conclusion is to record here that each were unlawfully killed while on lawful service in Afghanistan."
The inquest heard that Sergeant Talib Hussein, 23, of the ANA, shot Maj Bowman, 34, from Salisbury, Wiltshire, dead in his sleeping quarters in Patrol Base 3 (PB3) in Nahr-e Saraj district, near Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah.
He then fired into the base's command centre, killing Lt Turkington, 26, from Craigavon, Northern Ireland, and Cpl Pun, 33, from Nepal, and wounding four other UK soldiers before he escaped from the base.
Post-mortem examinations found that Maj Bowman, Lt Turkington and Cpl Pun all died from gunshot wounds, the inquest was told.
Mr Ridley said he accepted that PB3 fell under the remit of the Government and the Army's obligations under the European Convention for Human Rights. But he ruled that he saw no evidence of any breaches of this by the Army in its obligations to protect the three soldiers from such an incident.
He said: "One must guard against hindsight. In this case the possibility of an ANA attack was known but it was never perceived at any level either by those based at PB3 or higher up as a real risk, an actual risk."
Speaking of Hussein, Mr Ridley said: "The general perception was that he was a quiet individual but (he) had the respect of those with the International Security Assistance Force he had a working relationship with. He was one of the better members of the ANA based at PB3. There was nothing to suggest he posed a risk to the safety of those at PB3. There was no intelligence to suspect a problem with a member of the ANA at PB3."
Emily Carter, speaking on behalf of the Turkington family, said after the inquest: "Neal was an extremely proud Gurkha officer. He felt honoured to be part of making a positive difference to the lives of the Afghan people and helping put them on a path to freedom, democracy and prosperity. His parents, family and friends feel privileged and honoured to have shared in his short and fulfilled life. They are devastated that he is no longer here to enrich their lives and sad he was unable to continue his inspiring journey and passion to make a difference wherever and whenever he could."