THE brothers of hero soldier Darren Chant have condemned the Afghan policeman who killed him as a ‘coward’ and spoke of the ‘big hole’ left in their lives.
Top Regimental Sergeant Major Chant was gunned down while he was unarmed, relaxing with his troops at a checkpoint in Helmand province.
Five soldiers were killed in the surprise attack by police officer Gulbuddin Mohammed, who was being mentored by WO1 Chant and his men from the Grenadier Guards.
Yesterday, a coroner ruled the men were unlawfully killed.
Spencer and Mark Chant said life will never be the same without their ‘larger-than-life’ brother Darren – a father-of-three children from Horndean.
Spencer, 39, who lives in Horndean, told The News: ‘If it was a fair firefight then fair enough but it wasn’t.
‘He has been murdered, killed by one of the people he was trying to train.’
Gulbuddin is still on the run from police.
Older brother Mark, 43, said: ‘It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
‘It was a very callous and cowardly attack on someone who was there trying to make a difference.
‘I hope one day we will get justice.’
WO1 Chant, who died aged 40, was a widely-respected figure in the army and died just hours before he was to be informed he had earned commission to become an officer.
Spencer said: ‘I want to say how proud we all are of him.
‘I’m very happy to have been his brother and I’m immensely proud of what he achieved.
‘He lived for the army but he also lived for his family.
‘His children were his life and his mum was his life.
‘I don’t think the book will ever be closed on Darren. We miss him every day.’
The families of the soldiers had waited 18 months for an inquest after their loved ones were gunned down on November 3, 2009.
The delay was caused by the need for Ministry of Defence reports and investigations.
Mark said: ‘It’s left a very, very big hole in our lives.
‘It’s been a very emotional and long affair with everything that has gone on.’
During the inquest, commanders described WO1 Chant – a former Petersfield Town footballer – as a leader of men who was destined for a top role in the army.
Mark paid tribute to his brother’s achievements.
He said: ‘I’m very, very proud.
‘He did very well for himself.
‘He had a normal education, he didn’t go to a private school and he worked very hard to get a commission.
‘Unfortunately he never knew what he’d achieved.
‘He never got the chance to fulfil what he could have in his future career.
‘He was army through and through.
‘He would do anything for his men. His life was the army.
‘He joined when he was 16 and did numerous tours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo.
‘He absolutely loved his job.’