Stranded, heartbroken mum to miss inquest because of ash

THE devastated mother of an Ipswich soldier killed in Afghanistan is stranded abroad today, as the inquest into her son’s death starts.

The inquest into the death of Private Aaron McClure, 19, killed in Afghanistan on August 23, 2007, will start this morning at Trowbridge Town Hall in Wiltshire.

But because of the cloud of volcanic ash grounding all flights in and out of the UK and most of Europe, Pte McClure’s mother Lorraine and younger brothers Lewis, Daniel and Ryan are stranded in Gran Canaria, on a holiday they booked eight months ago.

After two and a half years waiting for their questions to be answered Miss McClure, of Marlow Road, Ipswich said she is “devastated” by not being able to be there at the final stage in her family’s agonising journey.

“We are stranded here with no means of getting off the island,” she said. “We have been doing everything we can to get it adjourned but the coroner has said it will go ahead.

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“I am pretty devastated, it has been two-and-a-half years, a long, long two-and-a-half years. I know we don’t want it adjourned again but I feel I need to be there. It is the final chance to get answers. My brother Allan is driving down tonight to be there for the start and Aaron’s dad will be there so somebody will be there for Aaron.

“I feel totally out on a limb here, stuck in a foreign country and we don’t know what is going on or when we can get home. I just know I should be there.

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“I will be updated about what is happening but it is not the same as being there.

“It is the final thing for my family, we have gone through so much, waiting so long for this day, it has been a nightmare. And now to think a cloud of ash has stopped me being there is just unbelievable.”

Despite pleas from Miss McClure and her family the coroner confirmed yesterday the inquest, expected to last around a week, was set to go ahead as planned.

Former Westbourne Sports College student, Pte McClure was killed alongside his comrades, Pts John Thrumble, 21, from Mayland and Robert Foster, 19 from Harlow.

The trio, who all served with the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian regiment, died in Helmand Province after a F-15 jet dropped a bomb on them while trying to end a Taliban ambush.

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