Elite paratrooper, 23, found hanged in woods hours after hugging mum

AN elite paratrooper was found hanged in woods just hours after hugging him mum and telling her: “I’m hurting.”

Luke Prior, 23, met up with his mum and later went to watch Wales beat England in the Six Nations earlier this year.

His inquest heard he only had one drink in a pub while he watched the match which Wales won 21-13 on February 23.

But the following day his body was found by dog walkers in woods near his home in Cwmavon, Port Talbot.

The inquest at Swansea Coroner’s Court heard he had been in contact with his ex-girlfriend and they were having issues with their relationship.

The court was also told there were few signs he was suffering with any kind of mental health issues, stress or depression.

Luke, who was a member of the 1 Para regiment after joining the army at the age of 16, wanted to be a soldier from the age of 12.

He initially joined the 3 Para regiment and was based in Colchester, Essex, but later transferred to the elite 1 Para regiment based at St Athan, South Wales.

A post-mortem examination found he died from pressure to the neck consistent with hanging.

Acting senior coroner Colin Phillips gave a verdict of suicide.

After Luke’s death comrades paid tribute to him with a full military dress funeral at Margam Crematorium.

Since his death, Luke’s family have raised money for the Support Our Paras charity in his memory.