Exmouth Marine joked tackling bomb that killed him

“If anything goes off now my wife will never forgive me.” - Exmouth Royal Marine Stephen Walker joked moments before he died in an explosion searching for bombs in Afghanistan

An Exmouth soldier joked moments before he died in an explosion in Afghanistan how his wife would never forgive him if he was killed.

Royal Marine Corporal Stephen ‘Whisky’ Walker was killed in May 2010 tackling a bomb while on foot patrol in Helmand province.

Seconds before the bomb went off, a comrade heard Cpl Walker joke: “If anything goes off now my wife will never forgive me.”

Cpl Walker, 42, of A Company 40 Commando Royal Marines, had been searching for improvised explosive devices (IED) near Patrol Base Almas, in Sangin.

He was killed when he and his comrades spotted a hay bale which looked out of place and had a wire sticking out.

An inquest held at Trowbridge, Wilts, heard how Cpl Walker had climbed into waist-deep in water in to irrigation ditch to investigate when the bomb went off – killing him instantly.

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Lance Corporal Gary Sinar, one of two Vallon operators in Cpl Walker’s section, who suffered a perforated ear drum in the blast, said: “He wanted to get a better look where this command wire was going to.

“I was on one knee and I was about to stand up and ask Steve if he was getting on all right, if he had seen anything, when the blast went off.”

“I remember him saying split seconds before, ‘If anything goes off now my wife will never forgive me.’”

An investigation found a second IED at the location was a pressure pad-operated booby trap device with a low metal content to avoid detection.

David Ridley, coroner for Swindon and Wiltshire, said he believed the bomb that killed Cpl Walker was a similar device.

He said Cpl Walker died of blast injuries caused by an explosion and recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Cpl Walker had two children, daughter Greer and son, Samuel.

His wife, Leona Walker said her husband had been her ‘soul mate’.

“Steve was passionate, loyal and determined. He enjoyed the role he had in the Marines but he was a family man at heart,” she said.