Soldier took his own life while at Camp Bastion
A SOLDIER from Swansea was found with self-inflicted gunshot wounds in Afghanistan, an inquest heard.
Sergeant Jonathan Eric Kups, from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was discovered in a storage hangar in Camp Bastion by a member of a search party after he had gone missing the evening before.
Comrades of the 38-year-old described him as a consummate professional who looked after those working under him and loved the gym.
He was also described as grumpy and short-tempered.
According to statements by comrades read out by Swansea coroner Philip Rogers, Mr Kups had mentioned that his wife, Claire, of Mount Pleasant, Gowerton, was very ill and that he had financial concerns.
It also emerged during the inquest that Mr Kups was under investigation by South Wales Police at the time of his death.
Comrades said they noticed a change in Mr Kups' demeanour in the day before his death, which was certified on September 21 last year.
Corporal Sian Peters said: "On September 20 I believe Jonathan arrived at work at 8am and I could tell he was not himself.
''He was very quiet and subdued," he said.
She said he sat at his desk with his head in his hands "as if something was on his mind".
But she added: "There was nothing that would make me want to believe he ever wanted to hurt himself. He always wanted to go home to his wife and children."
Staff Sergeant Matthew Chapman said he also noticed a change in Mr Kups on September 20.
"He looked like he was spaced out," he said. That evening Mr Kups left his tent with some cigarettes, a bottle of water and his SA80 rifle slung over his shoulder.
The inquest heard he said he was off to use internet facilities – but he did not return.
When he failed to show up to work the following morning, a Tannoy announcement was made and members of his unit began searching for him.
His rifle, and a message, was found by his body.
A forensic scientist who examined his body when it was repatriated to the UK said "the injuries sustained were consistent with at least three high velocity projectiles".
She added: "It was possible for Sergeant Kups to have personally inflicted these injuries. There is no evidence to indicate that this was not the case."
Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Rogers said that Mr Kups had been under pressure for a number of reasons.
He added: "The Army has carried out a thorough investigation, and there is no suggestion that anyone else was involved.
"The evidence, I think, is overwhelming that Sergeant Kups has died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
"I cannot accept that, given the evidence, that this was anything other than intentional, and I am satisfied therefore beyond any doubt that Sergeant Kups sadly intended to take his own life at that time."