Corrie McKeague: Missing RAF gunner died after being tipped into bin lorry, inquest finds

Body of airman, 23, who vanished during night out in 2016, has never been found

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 22 March 2022 18:15 GMT
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Missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague died after being tipped into a bin lorry, an inquest has concluded
Missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague died after being tipped into a bin lorry, an inquest has concluded (Suffolk Police)

RAF gunner Corrie McKeague, who vanished on a night out in 2016, died after getting into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry, an inquest has concluded.

The airman, from Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he disappeared in the early hours of 24 September in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He was last seen on CCTV at 3.25am entering a service area behind a Greggs shop. His body has never been found, despite extensive searches.

On Tuesday, an inquest jury recorded a narrative conclusion that McKeague died at approximately 4.20am in Bury St Edmunds as a result of “compression asphyxia in association with multiple injuries”.

In their conclusion, they said Mr McKeague’s “death was contributed to by impaired judgment due to alcohol consumption”.

They said there were “ineffective bin locks”, an “ineffective search of the bin” before it was tipped, and “poor visibility through a Perspex viewing window on the lorry”.

Members of McKeague’s family, including his mother, father, two brothers and his daughter’s mother, were in court as the jury returned its findings.

The inquest, in Ipswich, was earlier told that McKeague, who was stationed at RAF Honington, had slept in a bin before.

Missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague at about 3.25am on 24 September 2016
Missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague at about 3.25am on 24 September 2016 (Suffolk Police/PA)

He had also slept under bin bags on a previous night out, using them “like a blanket”, and was a heavy sleeper when drunk, the hearing was told.

He once downed a bottle of wine in 17 seconds, according to a friend, and was described by his former RAF line manager as a “nightmare on the drink”.

McKeague was seen asleep in a shop doorway earlier on 24 September before he awoke and walked to the service area where he was last seen.

McKeague’s father Martin outside Suffolk Coroner’s Court for the inquest into his son’s death
McKeague’s father Martin outside Suffolk Coroner’s Court for the inquest into his son’s death (PA)

Waste firm Biffa initially told police the weight of the bin was 11kg (1st 10lbs) but it was later recorded as 116kg (18st 3lbs).

The force said the movement of McKeague’s mobile phone mirrored the movement of the waste lorry that collected the bin from the service area where he was last seen.

McKeague was not seen on CCTV leaving the area on foot.

His father, Martin McKeague, said after the ruling that he hoped his son could “finally be left to rest in peace”, with the inquest shining “a new light on the truth for everyone”.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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