Padiham soldier ‘unlawfully killed’ by Afghan policeman

Sergeant Gareth Thursby
Sergeant Gareth Thursby

The Padiham parents of a soldier shot by a rogue Afghan policeman have been told that he was unlawfully killed.

At an inquest in Oxford the family of Sgt Gareth Thursby heard the policemen opened fire on him and another soldier, Pte Thomas Wroe, at a checkpoint in Helmand Province on September 15th last year. A third soldier was also injured in the attack

The Afghan officer, known as Gul Agha, was himself killed in return fire. Oxfordshire Assistant Coroner Alison Thompson said that, although there was no apparent motive for the “appalling attack”, there was no established link between the gunman and the insurgency in Afghanistan.

Sgt Thursby, a dad-of-two, whose mother Caroline Whitaker and stepfather Brian live in Victoria Road, had previously served in Kosovo and Iraq.

Recording her verdict of unlawful killing, Ms Thompson said: “It is often difficult, if not impossible, to establish motivation in this sort of case, making it especially hard for families to come to terms with the death.”