Chichester man 'turned gun on himself' whilst fighting IS

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Chichester man 'turned gun on himself' whilst fighting IS

A British chef who died fighting ISIS in Syria killed himself to avoid being taken hostage to Islamic militants, an inquest heard today.

Mr Lock, a chef from Chichester in West Sussex, told his family he planned to go backpacking in Turkey and offered no clues of his real plans.

At Ryan Lock's inquest today, a coroner hailed the 20-year-old as a hero and "a very courageous young man".

Recording a narrative verdict, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire coroner David Horsley said Ryan had sustained a leg wound that left him at risk of falling into the hands of a "cruel and ruthless" enemy.

She contacted the police immediately and continued to stay in contact with her son on Facebook Messenger, where he regularly posted pictures of himself during his military training. "That can only be viewed as a courageous action".

The coroner described Mr Lock as a "heroic young man" and added: 'He died doing something he quite clearly believed passionately in'.

But after losing contact with him last December, Mr Lock's father Jon Plater found images online of his son with an IS fighter standing over his body in the northern city of Raqqa - considered to be the terrorist group's de facto capital.

Pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head.

He left West Sussex without telling his family where he was going.

His mother, Catherine Lock, had no idea that her son was planning on travelling to Syria.

The inquest in Portsmouth heard that Ryan "turned the gun on himself" after being surrounded by ISIS fighters last December. "That's when I absolutely panicked".

And YPG general command member Mihyedin Xirki described Mr Lock as a "martyr" who died "putting up a fearless fight".

A Canadian man who is believed to have fought alongside him in Syria wrote to Ms Lock following his death, and said her son had "died a true hero" and his sacrifice would be remembered.

Dozens of people held roses and framed pictures as he was given a hero's return in February.

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