An inquest into the death of Fusilier Samuel Flint and his two comrades Cpl William Savage, and Pte Robert Hetherington of The Royal Regiment of Scotland was heard at Oxfordshire Coroners Court December 2014 in front of HM Coroner Mr Salter.
The soldiers were patrolling route 661 on April 30th 2013. Whilst monitoring the route which stretched between the Forward Operating Base Ouellette to Lashkar Gah Durai the convoy was struck by an IED which fatally injured the soldiers.
A surveillance system targeted at fighting the threat of bombs by notifying the army of any potentially suspicious activity such as digging, recorded a number of “hits” three days before the fatal incident. Yet despite warnings an investigation found that there was no obvious sign a bomb had been placed in the area. Sgt David Boxwell who was in command of the patrol said he had not been informed of any problems previous to the incident. The IED which fatally injured the soldiers was placed off the tarmac road hidden in the dust and could not have been detected.
The inquest held at Oxfordshire Coroners Court addressed questions that were raised over the whether the armoured Mastiff vehicle the soldiers were travelling in at the time of their death was fit for duty. The Mastiff, a heavily armoured protected patrol vehicle had been damaged by an IED explosion in May 2009 but had been declared fit for service despite issues with door locks after passing recent tests.
The coroner stated in his report that the soldiers should have been informed about insurgent activity in the district. However, Mr Salter ruled that there was “no significant evidence” that the vehicle in question failed to reach the “expected level of protection”. Mr Salter also said he will produce a regulation 28 letter (Prevention of Future Deaths report) on the identification and clearance of IED threats which will be forwarded to the Sectary of State Defence Michael Fallon. To read a full account of this case study, click here.