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Sniper 'not told to shoot UK soldier in Bosnia': First British soldier was unlawfully killed

THE FIRST British soldier to die in the Bosnian conflict was killed by a Croat or Muslim sniper acting without orders, an inquest was told yesterday.

The jury at Wrexham, North Wales, returned a verdict of unlawful killing on Lance Corporal Wayne Edwards, of Cefn Mawr, near Wrexham, who was shot in the head as he drove a Warrior armoured personnel carrier at Gornji Vakuf on 13 January.

L/Cpl Edwards, 26, was serving with the Cheshire Regiment on humanitarian aid convoy duty when he died.

His commanding officer, Lt- Col Bob Stewart, did not attend the inquest but said in a statement read to the hearing that he thought the soldier's murderer would never be caught. He said he believed L/Cpl Edwards had been killed by a Croat or Muslim soldier acting on his own initiative, without orders.

He added: 'Since the incident I have been to a number of meetings of the local commanders of the Muslim and Croatian armies to try and negotiate peace in Gornji Vakuf. During those meetings I have told both sides that the British Army will be treating L/Cpl Edwards's death as murder.'

John Hughes, the South Clwyd coroner said: 'This is a terribly tragic case of a young man of 26 who went to serve Queen and country in a peace- keeping capacity, not to fight.

'He had gone to serve for the United Nations in a country torn apart by civil war and has met an untimely death.'

He said L/Cpl Edwards's comrades had shown great courage in trying to rescue him and tried hard to revive him.