A RUNCORN soldier took his own life in Afghanistan, while the balance of his mind was disturbed, an inquest has heard.

Signaller Ian Sartorius-Jones, aged 21, died from a single gunshot wound to the head at the Khar army base in Helmand Province on January 24 this year.

He had been having problems at home and work, Warrington Coroner’s Court heard yesterday.

The soldier was married and had a one-year-old son, Dylan.

His wife, Kellyanne, aged 22, told the inques he seemed “paranoid and on edge” when he returned from duty for a Christmas break.

He had been serving in Afghanistan with 200 Signal Squadron since September.

She said she had spoken to him for the last time during the early hours of the morning he died.

The couple had been arguing over e-mail after she had discovered he had been contacing another woman on Facebook.

She said: “He needed to know whether I wanted to be with him. I said why and he said he was going to shoot himself.”

“He was crying. I was trying to calm him down and reassure him. By the end of the call he was speaking normally again.”

The soldier’s body was found in the camp’s phone tower with a rifle and a satellite phone at around 7am, Afghanistan time.

His colleagues raised the alarm after they heard a gunshot.

Deputy Coroner Dr Janet Napier recorded a verdict of taking his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

She said: “He certainly wasn’t thinking straight at the time which was a factor in him over reading the situation.

“He was a very conscientious gentleman.”

After the inquest, his dad, Robert said: “Ian was a loving husband, father, son and brother. He will be sadly missed by us all.

“He died while serving his country that he loved and was patriotic to the core. A true hero to us all and he will never be forgotten.”