South West News Service would like to apologise for any distress caused to the friends and family of a hero and celebrate the memory of a great man.
A report provided by SWNS from an inquest into the death of Corporal Stephen Curley and published in a local newspaper may have inferred that he deviated from standard military practice shortly before his death.
This was not the case.
Here, Corporal Stephen Curley’s wife Kirianne, talks about the man, husband, marine and the service that he has done for this country.
Corporal Curley, 26, was tragically killed when an IED exploded beneath him as he was on foot patrol in Sangin, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on May 26 last year.
The IED was allegedly detonated by a 14-year-old boy, who was promised just $80 or £50 from the Taliban to kill the brave platoon commander.
His wife Kirianne, 28, mother to their 18-month-old son William, said Corporal Curley, who served with 40 Commando, was a ”proud” and ”wonderful” father, husband and marine.
She has created a ‘memory box’ for William, containing mementoes from her life with her husband along with many cards and tributes written following his tragic death.
Mrs Curley said: ”My husband, Stephen, was killed when our son William was only 17 weeks old.
”Because William will never know, first hand, what a wonderful daddy he had, it has fallen to me and our wider circle of family and friends to build for him a realistic picture of who his father was.
”I have prepared a ‘memory box’ for William and in it are mementoes from the life Steve and I shared together.
”It contains the many cards and tributes written about Steve following his death and I have also collected and saved the newspaper accounts of how he died; so that when William is a man he can see how his father’s death was reported.”
An inquest into Corporal Curley’s death, which was held on August 5, heard how his professionalism saved lives.
Colleagues at the inquest paid tribute to the marine – who was on his third tour of duty – as ”professionally unrivalled” and ”supremely brave”.
Mrs Curley described the inquest as a day she had ”long dreaded” as she would be hearing first-hand accounts of her husband’s death ”without the buffer of shock”.
She said: ”I was supported in this by close family and friends.
”It was touching when, one after another, Stephen’s fellow marines voluntarily paid tribute to his professionalism and his skills as a marine, stating that without doubt lives had been saved because of this.
”Stephen died saving lives and serving his country as a proud husband, father and exemplary Royal Marine.”
The inquest heard that the experienced platoon commander did everything in his power to protect himself and colleagues on the day of his death.
Shortly before the devastating explosion, Cpl Curley told the troops to sort out their ”spacing” – the distance between each of them as they walked.
The marines had been walking single-file down a narrow alley way next to a 15ft compound wall during an evening patrol.
His instructions are likely to have stopped others from being seriously injured or killed when the bomb detonated.
Cpl Curley, who had previously served in Iraq and a tour in Afghanistan in 2006, was described as the ”very best of his generation” by his Commanding Officer.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul James, said: ”Bright, fit, charismatic and supremely brave, he was a man who genuinely inspired others.
”I saw in him a selfless, loyal, utterly dedicated and natural leader of men.
”He died on patrol in Sangin leading the men he loved, and alongside the men who loved him.
”As a Marine he was professionally unrivalled – a Mountain Leader, a consummate tactician and a brilliant Section Commander who cared passionately for his men.”
Cpl Curley’s inquest was adjourned for more information to be gathered.