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Coroner finds ex-soldier's Embassy death was 'tragic accident'


The death of a Queensland security guard at the Australian Embassy in Baghdad was most likely a “tragic accident”, a coroner has found.

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Former Australian soldier Chris Betts, 34, died on May 12, 2016 when a night of drinking and playing video games with his colleague Sun McKay ended in him dead with a single gunshot wound to the head.

McKay and Betts were friends who both worked for the firm Unity Resources Group (URG), which was contracted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to provide personal protection to embassy staff.

Betts’s death was initially reported as a suicide, but his parents pushed for the inquest over concerns other factors may have played a role.

In handing down his findings, state coroner Terry Ryan said there was insufficient evidence to suggest Mr Betts intentionally took his own life.

“Just before 2:30am, Mr Betts took Mr McKay’s glock handgun, which was kept in Mr McKay’s room and had been loaded earlier by Mr McKay,” Mr Ryan said.

“Mr Betts held it next to his head and pulled the trigger, and suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

“I’m unable to find that Mr Betts intended to take his own life.

“It’s likely that his death was a tragic accident.”

-ABC/Ashleigh Stevenson

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