Paul Goodall, 35, was shot three times in the head after gunmen hijacked the Land Rover he was driving in Zenica, a Muslim-controlled area of central Bosnia. Two other aid workers with him were wounded, but escaped.
The inquest into his death was opened and adjourned for further inquiries by the Bradford District Coroner, Mark Hinchcliffe, who said Mr Goodall was regarded as a local hero.
Before the inquest, Mr Goodall's stepfather, Kenneth Goodall, said that Paul had lost two brothers to violent deaths. A three-year-old brother, Stephen, was murdered by his father in 1963 and his body was not discovered for 25 years. His stepbrother Barry, 27, committed suicide in his cell at Dartmoor prison during rioting in 1990.
Mr Goodall, a father of four, of Earby, near Skipton, had been shot three times in the head. Dr Jan Lowe, a pathologist, said one of the shots had been fired just six to eight inches from Mr Goodall's head. He said he angle of the wounds suggested Mr Goodall had his head bent at the time and were 'typical of an execution-style murder'. The third round from a 9mm hand-held automatic firearm was probably fired when Mr Goodall was already incapacitated or dead. The official cause of death was given as gunshot wounds to the head.
The coroner's officer, PC Cate Foster, said that Mr Goodall, a former Royal Engineer who had fought in the Gulf war, was employed as an aid worker and driver by the Crown Agents in London.
PC Foster said he had been driving a Land Rover from Zenica to Vitez after completing a day's duty and was returning to his accommodation with two colleagues. All were unarmed.
At about 8.40pm the same day they were suddenly ambushed by three armed men. 'They were ordered from the vehicle and brought to the rear where they were asked to kneel on the ground. After some conversation Mr Goodall was unexpectedly shot in the back of his head. He collapsed instantly but the other two men tried to make their escape by rolling or jumping down an embankment and into a river.
'They were both shot at and received injuries,' PC Foster said. UN personnel had arrived shortly after the shots were fired but the assailants had disappeared.
The coroner adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed.