Nothing could have been done to prevent the death of an experienced war reporter from London in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, a coroner has ruled.
Sunday Mirror defence correspondent Rupert Hamer was travelling in a US Marine Corps armoured personnel carrier at the back of a resupply convoy when it was caught in the explosion on January 9 2010.
An inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire heard that he died despite wearing full standard issue body armour.
A US Marine was also killed and Sunday Mirror photographer Philip Coburn, who was sitting next to Mr Hamer, was seriously injured.
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.
“This was not an act of war. It was a cold-blooded killing. The purpose of the device was to maim and kill American service personnel.
“Sadly the mine killed a member of the Marines but also wounded Mr Coburn and took Rupert’s life.”
The court heard that the 100lb improvised explosive device (IED) went off underneath the vehicle in the Nawa area of Afghanistan. It was detonated by watching Taliban insurgents.
Hamer, 39, who lived in London, and Coburn, 44, were travelling in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle at the time.
Coburn told the hearing at Trowbridge Town Hall he remembered little of the actual blast.
“I remember coming to, I couldn’t see. I thought ‘Oh my God, not us, not us’. I started calling out for help and the Marines said they had to secure the area first.”
The blast did not penetrate the armour of the MRAP but the force of the explosion was enough to kill Mr Hamer instantly.