Somerset

Capt James Townley death: Jigsaw pieces missing, says father

Captain James Townley Image copyright MOD
Image caption Captain James Townley died the day before his 30th birthday

The father of a Somerset army captain who shot himself in the head in Afghanistan, said questions still remained about his son's death.

Capt James Townley had been in Helmand province a week when he died, the day before his 30th birthday.

It remained unclear whether he had intended to kill himself, coroner Tony Williams said.

Capt Townley's father Peter said there were "still some pieces of the jigsaw missing and probably always will be".

The inquest in Wells heard the officer lived near Glastonbury and was serving with the Corps of Royal Engineers when he died in September 2012.

His body was found alongside his pistol in a toilet block by Capt Timothy Barker.

When cross-examined at the inquest Capt Barker said it was not possible to discharge the pistol accidentally.

But recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said that suicide could only be legally ruled if there was evidence "beyond all doubt".

He added the circumstances of how the gun came to be fired and Capt Townley's intent remained "undetermined".

In a statement, Peter Townley said: "We have heard a lot of evidence but still do not really understand what happened to James that week."

He added: "We will never get over the loss of James but he lives on in the hearts of all those whose lives he touched."

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