By refusing to describe as suicide the death of a Briton who took his own life while fighting Isis in Syria, the coroner risks taking us backwards

Ryan Lock was just 20 and working as a chef in the Hampshire town of Havant when he decided to go off and fight in Syria. He liked playing military video games, and was described by his mother as “quite political”. But his parents didn’t guess what he was up to when he told them that he was going backpacking to Turkey. From there he flew to northern Iraq, where he joined up to fight Islamic State, maintaining intermittent contact with his family, who occasionally glimpsed him posing on Facebook with an AK-47. Details of where he died were not given at the inquest, though it is understood that he took his own life on the outskirts of the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, some time last December. He died “a martyr”, his commanding officer said.

Related: Briton who shot himself to avoid capture by Isis was ‘heroic young man’

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