Heartbreak as soldier’s inquest put off

Farewell: The funeral of Sam Flint-Broughton at St Chad's Church, Poulton
Farewell: The funeral of Sam Flint-Broughton at St Chad's Church, Poulton
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A heartbroken father today criticised the Army after an inquest into his son’s death was put off.

Fusilier Sam Flint-Broughton, 21, died when the vehicle he was travelling in was hit by a roadside bomb in the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on April 30 last year.

However, his family, from Poulton, will not find out the exact details of how he died until October at least because documents were again not ready for the original inquest date of June 25.

The family has attended two briefings at Fulwood Barracks and a preliminary hearing in Oxford - a 400-mile round trip - only for the inquest not to go ahead as planned.

Dad Dave Broughton, 48, said: “There’s more to it than what we were told in the first place and we are fighting the Army for information.We were at a pre-inquest hearing on Tuesday where they should have brought all the papers up to date.

“We are totally not happy and none of the other families are either.

“We have a two day travel to Oxford for nothing and this has happened three separate times when we have had to take days off.

“Everyone is struggling, and with not knowing the truth of what went on it’s going to be harder.

“When Sam died I didn’t realise all of this would carry on this long and go into next year.”

Today, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said the decision to adjourn the inquest was made by the coroner and declined to reveal why the documentation was not ready in time.

Fusilier Flint-Broughton, a former Collegiate High School pupil was serving in the Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment Of Scotland, and was one of three soldiers who died in the armoured Mastiff vehicle.

His death stunned the Poulton community, and his funeral, at St Chad’s Church last May, was attended by hundreds of people.

The 21-year-old is survived by his mum Karen Flint, step mum Shirley Broughton and siblings Daniel, Jason, David, Linsey, Corina and Porcha.

Mr Broughton, a self employed joiner, added: “It’s been a pure nightmare.

“Sam worked with me before he went in the Army, so it’s always on my mind because some of the tools have his name on.

“You have got to carry on and work through but some days it gets a lot harder and it can be something on the radio that I hear that reminds me of him.

“He was always singing along to records and when one comes on I can hear him, it’s really strange and it gets me every time.”

The family recently celebrated Sam’s 22nd birthday with a fund-raising night for Poppy Scotland at The Cube, in Poulton, which was well supported by the town.

Mr Broughton added: “It’s amazing.

“Everyone still has fond memories of him.

“With Poulton being such a small community I can go into any builders merchants and they want to talk about Sam.

“Sometimes it’s hard because they want to talk about him, but when they see me their tears start rolling and I have to walk away.

“His mum finds it hard because she works in a supermarket and it’s mentioned to her all the time.

“People mean well but when you’re having a bad day it doesn’t help at all.”

Fusilier Flint-Broughton was killed alongside Cpl William Savage, 30, from the same battalion, and Pte Robert Murray Hetherington, 25, from 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment.

A MoD Spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts remain with the families of Corporal William Savage, Fusilier Samuel Flint-Broughton and Private Robert Hetherington at this difficult time. The decision to adjourn the inquest was made by the Coroner. We continue to co-operate fully with the Coroner and the inquest process.”

A spokeswoman for Oxfordshire Coroners Court added: “The inquest has been postponed purely on the basis that our investigations are ongoing.”