Stuart Coburn Wiki – Bio
Stuart Coburn, 43, a former British soldier was killed in Iraq when a bomb he was trying to defuse exploded, an inquest has heard.
Stuart Coburn was working as a contractor in Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, when he died in August 2016. He had been trying to neutralize the improvised explosive device (IED) inside a large container when it detonated. The device, made up of five gas cylinders, had a radio control trigger -activated by a mobile phone- and a dead man’s switch that could be activated by movement. The Islamic State (ISIS) left the IED behind when it was driven out of the area by Iraqi security forces, the investigation heard. Mr. Coburn, a former Army Sergeant Major from Shepton Mallet, Somerset, was working for an international mine clearance company at the time.
Stuart Coburn was 43 years old.
Stuart Coburn (43) was Killed when detonated an improvised explosive device in Iraq, Investigation Report, Inquiry
Giving evidence, Brigadier Gareth Collett, who retired from the Army as a senior explosive ordnance engineer and head of the bomb disposal at the Defense Ministry, said ISIS had planned to put the container in the back of a truck and target military personnel. What the Islamic State had was time, a lot of time to make a lot of devices,” he said. Radio-controlled devices were quite well made and designed. When it comes to that level of skill or fancy device, you either leave it or wait for someone suitably qualified to come along and take care of it.” Brig Collett added: “The attrition rate was very high and they were being decimated by the coalition response and they probably ran out of trucks to put in that jump.
Somerset’s Senior Coroner, Samantha Marsh, asked Brig Collett what the British Army would have done in the circumstances. He replied: ‘On initial discovery, we would have left it as Mr. Coburn did. We would have argued with the elders and the heads of the village. We would have come back with electronic countermeasures. The first thing to do is take control of the switch. You have to be able to dominate the area and if you can do that, you want the electronic measures to drive them out of the area.”
The international contractors did not have access to jammers on the day of the explosion and were not allowed to set off the IED, the inquiry heard. Asked what likely caused the explosion, Brig Collett said, “I think it was probably the way the wires were cut. The safest outcome would have been to refer him to the Iraqi authorities: it is their responsibility and they have a duty to their people. I would have blown it where he was, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.” The investigation continues.