An ex-military policeman hailed a hero for helping victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack has died following a road collision.
Ex-serviceman Darron Coster used his training from 22 years in the Royal Military Police (RMP) to assist casualties in the City Room foyer where the bomb was detonated at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
On Monday, Sir John Saunders, the chairman of the public inquiry into the attack, said they had received the “very sad news” that Coster died last week.
“At the end of last week we had the very sad news that Darron Coster had died last Wednesday, July 14 following a road traffic collision,” Saunders said.
Coster, who retired from the RMP in 2008, told the inquiry earlier this year he had served tours of Northern Ireland, so was familiar with the aftermath of bomb explosions and had basic first aid training.
He had gone to pick up his son and his son’s friends after the concert that night.
After texting his son to make sure that he and his friends were safe, Coster made several laps of the room in assisting people.
He used a man’s belt and a woman’s handbag strap as tourniquets to stem the bleeding of a couple who had suffered leg injuries, and then helped a young man with serious facial and torso injuries.
He also encouraged uninjured people to sit with the injured to talk to them and assistant them.
“He remained in the City Room doing what he could in that vital first half-hour to an hour and then went to find his son,” Saunders said on Monday.
“I described him at the conclusion of his evidence as a hero for what he did on the night of May 22, 2017, and I don’t think that anyone could or would disagree with that description,” he added.
Saunders said Coster’s former commanding officer had been in touch with the inquiry since Coster’s death.
“He described how very proud his former colleagues and his family are of him,” Saunders said.
“He, this commanding officer, says that ‘lead by example’ is the motto of the Royal Military Police and the commanding officer remarks that is what Darron did on that dreadful night.”
Saunders said that he was “sure that we would all agree” with the tribute.
“He leaves a wife Alison and a son Charlie and the thoughts of all us connected to the inquiry are with them as they try to cope with his loss,” Saunders added. “His actions on May 22 will live on in the memories of many.”
By Kim Pilling