KENDAL solider Ryan Ward died ‘as a consequence of his own actions’, an inquest heard this morning.
Coroner for South and East Cumbria, Ian Smith, told the 20-year-old’s parents he was sorry he could not answer what was going through their son’s mind when he died, but that ‘no-one will ever know’.
Ryan’s mother Kathryn found him hanged at his Lound Street home in October.
Police said there were no suspicions circumstances and a post mortem showed there was no trace of drugs or alcohol in his body.
The inquest, held at South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court, was told of the tragedy Ryan had become involved while serving in Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.
Major Finlay Bibby said: “Ryan witnessed the shooting which killed two of our soldiers. He reacted by shooting the shooter of his two colleagues. What he did was appropriate.”
He added that there is always a thorough follow-up to such incidents, and that Ryan was monitored very closely, but always seemed ‘fine’.
“In fact he had a very positive outlook on life. I had played rugby with him in the week before he died and he was on good form,” he said.
The former Kirkbie Kendal pupil had attended the funeral of one of those soldiers – Sgt Gareth Thursby – the day before his death.
His dad Richard had driven to Skipton to pick him up from the event.
He said: “There was times in the journey where he was alright and times when he was very, very quiet. He took his time getting out of the car and I shook his hand and said ‘well done today’ and said he had got to be strong.
“He said ‘thanks dad’ and went into the house.”
He added that the tragedy had not put him off the army and that he still loved his job.
Mr Smith said: “Ryan did what he did but we have no idea why he did it or what his intention was. There was absolutely nothing in retrospect to suggest he was going to self harm or that there was even a risk there.
“I cannot invent knowledge of what was in his mind.”