Wirral man killed in Syria fighting died from blast injuries

Reporter:

Jonathan Barnett

A WIRRAL man who travelled to Syria to join the fight against Islamic State died from blast injuries, an inquest has heard.

Luke Rutter, 22, from Birkenhead, died in the city of Raqqa on July 5 after joining the Kurdistan People’s Protection Units (YPG).

An inquest into his death, held at the Gerard Majella Courthouse in Liverpool on Monday, heard he had travelled to the country without the knowledge of the UK authorities and was “more likely than not” to have been killed by IS, also known as Daesh.

The brief hearing, which lasted less than 10 minutes, was attended by Mr Rutter’s mother and father along with other relatives.

Coroner’s officer Pamela Robbins said a post-mortem examination showed the cause of his death was blast injuries.

In a video message released after his death, Mr Rutter had apologised for lying to his loved ones about going to fight.

He said: “I lied to people I care about to come here. I said that I was going somewhere else, I didn’t.

“I apologise massively for that.

“Apart from that I don’t regret my decision and I hope that you respect it.”

Coroner Andre Rebello recorded a narrative conclusion into the 22-year-old’s death.

He said: “On July 5 2017 Luke Rutter died from blast injuries either from an improvised explosive device or a rocket exploding nearby. He was hit with projectiles and shrapnel with immediate fatal consequences.

“He travelled to Syria unbeknown to UK authorities and volunteered to fight with the YPG, a Kurdish people’s protection unit, against Daesh, a recognised terrorist group.

“It is more likely that not he was killed by Daesh terrorists in this conflict.”

Mr Rebello expressed his condolences to the family.

He said: “For a child to die in these circumstances must be particularly hard.”

Mr Rutter, also known as Soro Zinar, is believed to have joined the fighting in Syria in March.

A statement posted on the YPG’s Facebook page after his death said: “He was martyred on 5 July 2017 after battling bravely in the terrorist group’s so-called capital. The people of Rojava will not forget his sacrifice.”

Other Britons to die in the fight against the militants include sniper Jac Holmes, 24, from Bournemouth, who was killed clearing land mines from Raqqa last month.

Mehmet Aksoy, 32, who grew up in England, is believed to have joined the YPG to work as a press officer and was killed in September during a Daesh attack while he was on duty in Raqqa, according to the Kurdish military force.

Former chef Ryan Lock, 20, from Chichester, West Sussex, shot himself to avoid falling captive to IS last December.

Dean Evans, 22, a dairy farmer from Reading, Berkshire, died in the city of Manbij in July last year, and former Royal Marine Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, 25, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, died in the northern village of Tel Khuzela in March 2015.

Email:

jonathan.barnett@nwn.co.uk

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