Stranded, heartbroken mum to miss inquest due to ash

IPSWICH: A devastated mother of an Ipswich soldier killed in Afghanistan is stranded abroad and will be unable to attend the start of his inquest, it can be revealed today.

The inquest into the death of Private Aaron McClure, 19, killed in Afghanistan on August 23, 2007, was due to 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 a gruelling two-and-a-half years wait for their questions to be answered Miss McClure, of Marlow Road, Ipswich said she is “devastated” by not being able to be there and grasp the last chance to find answers.

“We are stranded here with no means of getting off the island,” she said.

“I am pretty devastated. I know we don’t want it adjourned again but I feel I need to be there.

“Even if they re-open airspace we have been told it will be two to three days before anyone can get a flight.

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“My brother Allan is driving down to be there for the start and Aaron’s dad will be there so somebody will be there for Aaron.

“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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