Tragic: Stuart Murray

An Irish man has been killed in an ambush in Afghanistan.

Tragically, Stuart Murray, 40, was on a surprise trip home to see his family in County Derry.

His widow Sheena Murray said he was preparing to leave the country when he was killed.

Murray had been expected to leave Afghanistan on Sunday but left a day early to surprise his wife.

A close friend of the family, SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan, said: "He was due to enjoy a huge family birthday bash as he had celebrated his 40th birthday last Wednesday - this makes it even more tragic."

Murray had recently retired from the British Army and was on a six-week training course with a private firm in Afghanistan.

"This is a tremendous loss - he was a real family man and a wonderful father to his two young children," Mullan said.

Local priest Fr Edward Gallaghe said Murray was "a larger than life character who loved his family and his work."