A BRITISH soldier died after a herd of elephants charged at him while he was in Malawi helping to stop poachers, a hearing in Oxford has been told today.

An inquest opening into the death of guardsman Mathew Talbot comfirmed reports that the soldier had been crushed whilst out on duty.

Oxford Coroner's Court today heard how the 22-year-old, of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, was on day four of a 10-day mission to help Malawi Ranger Force tackle poaching in Liwonde National Park.

Read again: Guardsman Mathew Talbot repatriated to RAF Brize Norton

It has been reported that its was Gdsm Talbot's first deployment since training.

The Oxford Times:

Gdsm Talbot's body was repatriated at RAF Brize Norton near Carterton. Picture: MOD

Oxfordshire Coroner Darren Salter read from a preliminary report during the opening, which said: "The guardsman was engaged in an operation involving partnering the Malawi Ranger Force in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

"He was on day four of a 10 with another soldier and two rangers.

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"He was walking through 7ft tall grass when the incident happened with a herd of elephants. There is reference to several elephants being involved in the charge or attack before dispersing. During the incident Guardsman Matt Talbot was injured seriously."

Mr Salter said the guardsman was still conscious after the attack but died on the way to hospital.

Initial reports suggest he suffered a cardiac arrest, and died from chest injuries.

A full inquest will be held at a later date, although no date is set to allow for further investigations.

The Oxford Times: