15-minute inquest concludes reporter was killed unlawfully

A 24-year-old journalist who set out to make a career reporting from war zones was unlawfully killed in Iraq by a single gunshot to the head.

Richard Brooke Wild, a former soldier from Melrose, travelled to Baghdad in 2003, despite his family’s protests, and was killed on 5 July that year outside the city’s American-controlled university.

An inquest in Oxford on Monday heard how Wild had been doing some research at the university. The coroner heard that as he walked across the campus grounds, he was killed by a single gunshot fired from behind.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had died after a bullet had gone through the back of his head.

Wild had previously worked for ITN as a researcher and also occasionally contributed stories and pictures to The Guardian and Observer.

After his death, his body was flown back to the UK by the RAF, and landed at the Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire.

Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker – who heard the inquest because the body’s first entry point in the UK was in his jurisdiction – said there was not much evidence available.

He said that at the time Wild died, the American authorities who controlled Baghdad had a policy of not investigating civilian deaths.

The inquest, which heard from no witnesses and lasted only 15 minutes, concluded when Walker ruled that Wild was killed unlawfully.

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