Devon

Ex-marine's Kenya death 'unexplained'

Benjamin Ryalls Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Benjamin Ryalls was described as fit and healthy when he died in 2012

A former Royal Marine working on anti-piracy security died after a night ashore in Kenya in unexplained circumstances, an inquest heard.

Benjamin Ryalls, 34, was fit and healthy when he died in a tuk-tuk on the way to his ship in Mombasa in 2012.

His family said they felt let down by the British government, while Kenyan authorities had withheld information and toxicology results.

Exeter coroner Philip Spinney said no injuries were found on Mr Ryalls.

Mr Ryalls' father Dennis told the inquest the family felt they had been "fobbed off" and not treated fairly by the government, which he described as "inept".

"Our lives fell apart that day. We just want closure but we will never give up," he said.

The government did not help the family get answers from the Kenyan authorities, he added.

Image copyright jacobeukman/Getty Images
Image caption Mr Ryalls died in a tuk-tuk on his way back to his ship in Mombasa

The inquest heard Mr Ryalls, from Bideford, north Devon, served in the Royal Marines for seven years and was a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.

His father, 71, said a taxi driver had been seen with his son's wallet in his hand and a considerable amount of money was taken from it.

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At the hearing, he questioned whether his son, who had been working off the coast of Somalia at the time, had been "drugged and robbed in a nightclub" before a taxi ride back to his ship.

A post-mortem examination by British pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery could not ascertain the cause of death.

Mr Spinney said attempts to engage with the Kenyan authorities had proved unsuccessful.

The coroner added there was no evidence the former commando had been assaulted and recorded an open conclusion.

Mr Ryalls has visited Kenya to try to find the truth about his son's death and is trying to save from his pension to visit again.

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