Brit bomb disposal expert killed when old WW2 explosive detonated, inquest finds

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A Brit working abroad as a bomb disposal expert died in an explosion involving a World War Two bomb, an inquest heard.

Stephen Atkinson, 57, was working on a Pacific Island to map unexploded munitions left over from heavy fighting between Japanese and Allied forces.

But the journey turned to tragedy for the dad-of-one, who is known affectionately as Luke, when a device went off in the home he shared with Australian colleague Trent Lee, 40, who also died in the blast on September 20 last year.

Cops said a number of other unexploded bombs were found in the apartment, reports Mail Online.

Stephen’s ribs, throat and upper body were all damaged and he was raced to the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, where he tragically died.

His pal, Ian Hird, gave evidence at the hearing and said: “He put the safety of others first and took his responsibility very seriously.

“Luke was very well-read, bright and had intelligence. He gained a reputation for being innovative.

“He adored his son, who is now 18, and did everything possible to support him. He was a great friend and storyteller.

“He worked hard on his friendships and worked hard to stay in touch with people he had met throughout his life.”

Stephen, who was brought up in Kent, was born in Singapore to a pianist from New Zealand and an Irish doctor.

He worked as a park ranger in Zambia and Zimbabwe when he was 17 and lived in many countries around the world – including Kosovo, Afghanistan and Camodia.

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East Sussex Coroner Alan Crazegave recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

He said: “There is a son that is going to have to live with this.

“I think that in many ways we can call this an accident. I shall record a conclusion of misadventure.”

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