Lightning killed Marine

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A ROYAL MARINE radio operator was killed when lightning struck him as he played a computer game, an inquest was told yesterday.

The bolt surged down a 30ft aerial set up during an exercise, and into the hand control Cpl Paul Neslen was using to play the Sega Megadrive game.

Marine John Cann, who was with Cpl Neslen, 30, in the tent attached to a Land Rover on Dartmoor, Devon, last May, described the accident in a statement to the Exeter inquest.

He said: 'There was a loud bang. There were flashes around. I was flung out of the door of the tent. It was like being hit by a huge hammer . . . I saw Neslen stumble out of the tent. I thought he was messing about. He seemed to be clawing at his handset. He went down on his knees and then he fell on to his back. I kicked the handset off him.'

He and two other marines in the group from HQ Signals at Stonehouse barracks in Plymouth, Devon, tried to save Cpl Neslen, but he was dead on arrival at an Exeter hospital.

A post-mortem examination showed he died of heart failure caused by the lightning bolt. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.