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SOLDIER KILLED AFTER STAG DO; Merseyside man, 24, hit by coach.

Byline: JOHN SIDDLE

A MERSEYSIDE soldier was killed after he was hit by a coach while walking back to base after his own stag night.

The 24-year-old from Southport, who has not yet been named, died at around 3am on Saturday on a notorious stretch of carriageway in Dorset.

Police said he had been out celebrating his forthcoming marriage with friends in Poole and caught a taxi home at the end of the night.

But he only had enough money to get part way home - leaving him with a several mile-long walk back to his barracks in the town of Bovington.

It is believed he was walking or running when he was struck from behind by a single-decker Excelsior coach.

Sergeant Dave Stroud, from Dorset police, described it as a "poignant and tragic case".

The ECHO understands the soldier's fiancee was out of the country celebrating her hen night.

The accident took place on a narrow, unlit and tree-lined section of the A35 road, which police said has a reputation as an accident blackspot.

The soldier suffered serious head injuries and died shortly afterwards at the scene.

The coach driver, a 55-year-old man from Bournemouth, was treated for shock. There were no passengers on the coach.

The police closed the road and put diversions in place so that crash investigators could examine the scene. It re-opened at around 10 am on Saturday.

Sergeant Stroud said police were appealing for the driver of a goods lorry coming in the opposite direction at the time of the collision to come forward.

He said: "They may have driven passed the collision, most likely without realising. It is not uncommon for people to walk back from Poole via this route."

An Army spokesman last night confirmed the dead man was a serving soldier who had been training at the Bovington barracks. His next of kin have been told of the tragedy, including his fiancee.

Local councillor for the area Peter Wharf described the number of fatal collisions on the A35 as "depressing".
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 25, 2012
Words:338
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