Armorgroup Security Guard, David Hughes, killed by roadside bomb
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 21, 2010
A MASSIVE roadside bomb that killed an ex-soldier in Iraq was big enough to destroy a tank.
David Hughes, 31, died instantly alongside two Iraqi colleagues when their armoured vehicle was targeted by insurgents in the Al Hillah region, south of Baghdad, last May.
The former Queen’s Dragoon Guards was working for a civilian company providing protective security to American construction workers in the war-torn country when the incident happened.
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest yesterday, North west Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones said someone hiding alongside the dirt road had triggered the bomb.
He said: “In effect David Hughes was murdered by someone hiding in the fields or drainage ditches. By whom we cannot say.
“We are hearing more about deaths of this sort on a daily basis and dozens of similar inquests will be held throughout the country for the foreseeable future. It is probably something politicians might like to look at.”
Mr Jones added he considered the equipment issued to David and his colleagues was probably of a higher standard than similar equipment issued to British soldiers. “But this bomb caused a huge explosion and was capable of penetrating the armour plating of a battle tank,” he said.
David, from Cae Mur, Caernarfon, spent more than 12 years in the Army but left in 2007. He worked for private security company G4S Secure Solutions in Afghanistan before transferring to the company’s Armorgroup business in Iraq.
Colleague Chris Powell, from Burton-on-Trent, told the hearing at Caernarfon they were escorting three Americans from Al Hillah to Baghdad.
Former Paratrooper Mr Powell said: “There were five Toyota Landcruisers in the convoy. These are armour plated and we were all armed. David was travelling as lead scout in the first vehicle. His job was to report anything he thought suspicious.
“There was no target indicator, just two schoolgirls walking about 150 yards ahead of us. As we came to a bend the vehicles slowed and then there was a massive explosion.”
Fearing an ambush Mr Powell called for help from his colleagues and US military forces. He escorted the Americans to a safer area before returning to the scene.
He said the vehicle had been blown off the road into a field. One of the Iraqis was found on the road and another near the vehicle. David was found inside the vehicle.
“The explosion hit the right hand side of the vehicle and David, sitting on that side, took the full force of the blast,” he added.
They saw no one who could have activated the bomb and they did not stay in the area after the bodies had been airlifted to a Baghdad hospital.
Christopher Beese, of G4S Risk Management Ltd, said the bomb had penetrated the armour plating and exploded inside the vehicle.
He suggested the high explosive used may have been from unexploded bombs or shells fired by American forces during the war in Iraq. “These devices are relatively easy to make, but while rudimentary are highly effective,” he said.
Hundreds of David’s former Army colleagues and friends attended his funeral in Caernarfon. His heartbroken girlfriend Mim Bradshaw, a 23-year-old nurse, described David as her “mister perfect”.
His brother Andrew said: “We’ll never forget him. My wife Karon and I had our first child last summer just a few days before his birthday. We have named him David Sean in his honour.”
Another brother, Darren, added: “He joined up in 1996. Since then he’s been everywhere on exercises and operations. He was in the peacekeeping force in Bosnia and with Nato in Kosovo.”