RAF gunner Corrie McKeague died after getting into bin which was tipped into waste lorry, inquest rules

Corrie vanished on a night out in 2016, and his body has never been found despite extensive searches

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RAF gunner Corrie McKeague, who vanished on a night out in 2016, died after getting into a bin which was then tipped into a waste lorry, an inquest has concluded.

The airman, of Dunfermline, Fife, was 23 when he disappeared in the early hours of September 24 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He was last seen on CCTV at 3.25am entering a service area behind a Greggs shop. His body has never been found, despite extensive searches.

On Tuesday, an inquest jury recorded in a narrative conclusion that Mr McKeague died at approximately 4.20am in Bury St Edmunds as a result of “compression asphyxia in association with multiple injuries”, jurors recorded.

Corrie McKeague
Corrie McKeague

In their conclusion, they said Mr McKeague’s “death was contributed to by impaired judgment due to alcohol consumption”.

They said there were “ineffective bin locks”, an “ineffective search of the bin” before it was tipped, and “poor visibility through a Perspex viewing window on the lorry”.

Members of Mr McKeague’s family, including his mother, father, two brothers and his daughter’s mother, were in court as the jury returned its findings.

The inquest, in Ipswich, was earlier told that Mr McKeague, who was stationed at RAF Honington, had slept in a bin before.

Corrie McKeague's father Martin outside Suffolk Coroner's Court, Ipswich, Suffolk, for the inquest into his death, Corrie vanished on a night out in Bury St Edmunds in 2016. Picture date: Tuesday March 22, 2022.
Corrie McKeague's father Martin outside Suffolk Coroner's Court, Ipswich, Suffolk, for the inquest into his death, Corrie vanished on a night out in Bury St Edmunds in 2016. Picture date: Tuesday March 22, 2022.

He had also slept under bin bags on a previous night out, using them “like a blanket”, and was a heavy sleeper when drunk, the hearing was told.

He once downed a bottle of wine in 17 seconds, according to a friend, and was described by his former RAF line manager as a “nightmare on the drink”.

Mr McKeague was seen asleep in a shop doorway earlier on September 24 before he awoke and walked to the service area where he was last seen.

Waste firm Biffa initially told police the weight of the bin was 11kg (1st 10lbs) but it was later recorded as 116kg (18st 3lbs).

The force said the movement of Mr McKeague’s mobile phone mirrored the movement of the waste lorry that collected the bin from the service area where he was last seen.

Mr McKeague was not seen on CCTV leaving the area on foot.

His father, Martin McKeague, said after the ruling that he hopes his son can “finally be left to rest in peace”, with the inquest shining “a new light on the truth for everyone”.