A YORKSHIRE serviceman described as a “model soldier” was killed in Afghanistan by a new type of Taliban bomb, an inquest heard yesterday.
Royal Dragoon Guards trooper James Leverett, 20, died after his Viking armoured vehicle struck a massive improvised explosive device (IED).
His girlfriend Tiffany Lound was eight months pregnant with the couple’s baby son James at the time and more than 1,000 mourners packed into Sheffield Cathedral for his funeral.
The soldier, from Rawmarsh, Rotherham, was thrown 10 metres in the blast, which was caused by a pressure-plate activated 40kg device made of two 25-litre plastic oil drums strapped together.
Delivering a verdict of unlawful killing, coroner Nicola Mundy said: “It seems the IED in question had been there for some time.”
“The first two vehicles had passed over the device but compressed the ground to such an extent that when the third vehicle passed over it was sufficient to trigger the device.”
The coroner said the soldier died from his blast injuries.
She added: “He was clearly a very brave young man as indeed his colleagues were too.”
After the hearing, the soldier’s mother Sharon Leverett said: “It has been a hard day but I have got some closure now and we are satisfied with the verdict.
“It is a shame that all we have got left is memories.”
The former plasterer’s labourer went into the Army at 18 in May, 2008 and joined the Royal Dragoon Guards in January, 2009. He deployed to Afghanistan just a month before he died.
His girlfriend Tiffany discovered their baby was going to be a boy the day after the family received the news about his death.
Their son James Jnr was born in August that year and is now 17 months old.