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Reporter's death 'not preventable'

The war reporter Rupert Hamer was the victim of a "cold-blooded killing", a coroner said yesterday. The 39-year-old was the first British journalist to be killed in Afghanistan; he was travelling in a US Marine Corps armoured vehicle when it was hit by a roadside bomb.

The Sunday Mirror reporter died with 23-year-old Lance Corporal Mark Juarez; Phil Coburn, a photographer, lost both his legs and five more US Marines were seriously injured in the explosion, in January 2010.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, David Ridley, Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner, said: "No matter how much training was given, I don't think it would have changed the outcome." But Mr Hamer's widow, Helen, said: "The Mirror's attitude to its journalists going into battle areas before he died was very lax. I hope they tighten up their procedures to minimise the dangers."

The inquest heard that Mr Hamer, who had three children, was wearing body armour and travelling in one of the best-protected vehicles in Afghanistan.