An inquest in to the death of a decorated soldier from Lincoln who served alongside Prince Harry in Afghanistan has today been formally opened.
Warrant Officer Nathan Hunt, 39, was found dead at his home in the city on January 2.
His parents, Derek and Maria Hunt, from Lincoln, want their son’s death to help end the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by returning soldiers.
An inquest heard police forced entry to the property in Westbrooke Road, Lincoln, on the morning of January 2 after concerns were raised for his safety.
WO Hunt served with Prince Harry in Helmand Province in 2008 after being attached to the Household Calvary.
The father-of-one was part of a desert reconnaissance unit which was involved in identifying roadside bombs planted by the Taliban.
Mr Hunt, a member of the Royal Engineers, was awarded a Mention in Dispatches for his courage in locating improvised explosive devices while on secret missions to ambush the enemy.
But he was later diagnosed with mental health issues linked to combat stress.
An inquest in to WO Hunt’s death was today opened at Lincoln Coroner’s Court.
Paul Smith, the Area Coroner for Lincolnshire, said: “I open the inquest in to the death of Nathan John Hunt, born May 19, 1978, who was formerly of Westbrooke Road, Lincoln, who died at his Lincoln home on January 2.
“The information I have in relation to this death is fairly limited at present.
“I am told in a statement from PC Nathan Addllsee that on that date police officers attended the address as a consequence of concerns for the occupant.
“The officer states that at 9.50am as a consequence of the door being secured by a chain that the officers forced entry.
“On the banister of the stairs there was a male hanging. I believe that male to be Nathan Hunt.
“A paramedic arrived and he was declared dead at 9.52am.”
WO Hunt was formally identified by his father, Derek Hunt, on January 18. The inquest heard Mr Hunt had last seen his son alive on New Year’s Eve.
The Coroner concluded the hearing by stating: “The final piece of evidence I have is a provisional post mortem from Dr Hodi, he confirms this was not a natural cause of death, the clinical cause of death is 1A, hanging.
“I am satisfied the circumstances of Mr Hunt’s death are such I must hold an inquest. There are ongoing inquiries in to the broader circumstances of his death, and I therefore adjourn the inquest for a provisional date of June 21.”
WO Hunt, who has an elder brother, grew up in Lincoln and joined the army as a boy soldier just before his 16th birthday after attending North Kesteven School.
Derek, who himself served 22 years in the Army, said after his son’s death: “I don’t see Nathan’s death as any different to if he had been shot on the battlefield. He is a casualty of war.
“He saved hundreds of lives during his career in the Army and if his death can do the same then that would be a fitting tribute.
“We have to end the stigma that comes from post-traumatic stress disorder.”
The family insist they do not blame the Army for Nathan’s death but would like to see more military hospitals and psychiatric help for returning soldiers.
A full military funeral is to be held for WO Hunt.