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An inquest has found that a Cork-born soldier, Michael Maguire (20) , was killed unlawfully during a live fire exercise in 2012. Photo by: Wales News Service

Irish soldier’s death unlawful – shot in head while eating a sandwich

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An inquest has found that a Cork-born soldier, Michael Maguire (20) , was killed unlawfully during a live fire exercise in 2012. Photo by: Wales News Service

An inquest has found that a Cork-born soldier was killed unlawfully during a live fire exercise  in 2012.

Michael Maguire (20) had been relaxing in a secure location when he was shot in the temple, with a single machine gun bullet, by a fellow officer during training. He was standing eating a sandwich, without a protective helmet, in a safe area.

Despite being rushed to hospital in Cardiff he was pronounced dead 30 minutes after his arrival.

His brother, Jimmy, said the inquest left the family with unanswered questions about the “planning, setting up and conducting” of the exercise.

Maguire was a member of the 1st Battalion in the Royal Irish Regiment. He had finished his part in the training exercise when the incident took place at the Castlemartin Ranges, in Pembrokeshire, in May 2012.

After the inquest in Cardiff his family released a statement paying tribute to Maguire, who was 6ft 7in and known as 'High Tower.’

It read, “Mike was a dearly loved son and brother, and he is much missed by us, his family, and everyone who knew him.

"Our mother was sadly unable to be present at the inquest due to illness.

"We are pleased the inquest heard that Mike was a very well-liked member of his battalion, who served in difficult conditions in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It makes it all the more ironic that he should lose his life on a training exercise in Wales."

Ranger Maguire had served one tour of duty in Afghanistan. He was involved in a series of low-level training as part of the build-up to his second tour.

Ranger Matthew Hewitt told the court he was with Maguire when he was shot.

Hewitt said, “I was smoking a cigarette and he was eating his lunch when the rounds started coming. I could hear the sound of live weapons being fired from close by.

“Michael commented they sounded too close. He looked round to see where the noise was coming from and then he fell to the ground. I realised immediately he had been hit, but I couldn’t believe it - it all happened in a split second,” The Daily Mail reported.

A Health and Safety investigation and an army Special Investigation Branch inquiry are both still looking into Ranger Maguire's death.

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