Widow of tragic Marine offers her sympathy

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The widow of a Royal Marine killed in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan yesterday offered her sympathy and condolences to the families of the men killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Kirianne Curley spoke after the inquest into the death of her husband, Corporal Stephen Curley, 26, in Helmand in May 2010 returned a verdict of unlawful killing.

Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland ruled Cpl Curley was killed after stepping on a pressure-activated bomb, despite hearing yesterday that a teenage Afghan boy called Agha Wali, as young as 14 at the time, was currently serving five years in prison for planting an IED and acting as a “trigger man” around the time and in the area where the explosion happened.

She ruled that the “anecdotal” evidence of his involvement was not strong enough to prove he was responsible for the death of the new father, whose son William was five months old when he died.

Speaking outside the inquest at County Hall in the family’s home city of Exeter, Mrs Curley spoke of the “tremendous support” she had received, but criticised the length of time it had taken to finish the inquest, which was originally opened in August last year.

“I now have enough information to be able to give a thorough explanation of Stephen’s death to our son William,” she said.

“I hope that in future military inquests will be expedited so that the time between the death in service and the inquest is considerably shortened.

“My thoughts today are with Stephen. He leaves a lasting legacy in our beautiful son and will always be remembered by family and friends.

“I would like to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of those who died in the recent explosion.”

Cpl Curley was born in Dewsbury and had been with Somerset-based 40 Commando Royal Marines since completing his training in 2004. He was in charge of the patrol when the explosion happened on May 26, 2010.

The patrol had moved in single file down an alleyway in a built-up area in Sangin before turning a corner at the end. Cpl Curley was second in the file behind the “vallon man”, Marine Greg Tatty, who carried a metal detector.

Marine Tatty passed the device safely but it caught Cpl Curley. He was killed instantly.

The inquest heard that it was believed Agha Wali was offered 80 US dollars (£48) by the Taliban to act as a triggerman, but when he went to collect the payment he was told he should be fighting for ideological reasons and not financial gain. He was later handed in to authorities by his father.