A British man who was killed fighting Isis in Syria had been due to leave the war-torn region just two hours later, an inquest heard today.
Jac Holmes, 24, had spent four months engaged in heavy fighting in Raqqa and had told his mother he was ready to leave for "rest and recuperation".
But as he attempted to defuse a suicide belt, he was blown up, and the transport scheduled to take him on his homeward journey arrived minutes after he was killed.
It had been the former IT worker’s third tour of Syria and although his parents pleaded with him not to go he told them he had ‘unfinished business with Isis’.
Dad Peter Holmes and mum Angie Blannin told his inquest that they were so proud of their son who was considered a ‘legend’ among the Kurdish people.
Mrs Blannin said: "In Syria everyone knows his name, we didn’t realise but people there will be calling their children Jac for many years to come because of him."
The hearing heard Mr Holmes a former painter and decorator from Bournemouth, Dorset, had no military experience but wanted to join the Kurdistan People’s Protection Units (YPG) because he thought he could help.
He first flew to Syria in January 2015 despite efforts by his family and the police to stop him.
He returned to the UK for a few months in the summer of 2015 and again in April 2016 and each time his father tried to dissuade him from going back.
The hearing in Bournemouth heard he had been fighting in Rawda, the north eastern quarter of Raqqa, for four months and had helped liberate the city.
He spoke to his mother the day before he died and told her he was "tired and had had enough" and was leaving the area the next day for some "rest and recuperation" before returning to the UK.
But on October 23, 2017 he tried to defuse a suicide belt, which he had apparently done multiple times successfully before, when it detonated, killing him instantly.
A post mortem examination carried out when his body was repatriated to the UK found the cause of death was severe blast head injuries.
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The report said: "The distribution of injuries suggest he was kneeling on his right knee while bending over an explosive device at the time of detonation."
A detective from Dorset Police told the inquest the force had tried to stop Mr Holmes from going to Syria and had actually managed to block his entry at Gatwick Airport the first time he went out.
But he was determined and found another way into the country, signing a disclaimer stating that he was aware of the danger.
DC John Marshall said: "I personally made significant efforts to stop Jac travelling to Syria. The first journey we managed to stop him at Gatwick.
"I gave him a proper security briefing outlining the obvious dangers. Sadly he was not to be deterred.
"I tried to say to him there were other things he could do, humanitarian work, but he said I’m not going to be happy until I’m gun in hand out there. That was his commitment to it."
Britons killed after joining Kurdish forces in Syria
He said a colleague who had fought with Mr Holmes told him he had gone to a safe location within the YPG compound to defuse the IED, under an archway to contain the blast.
Dorset Coroner Rachel Griffin recorded a verdict of accidental death.
She said: "What occurred on October 23 was wholly unexpected. He was not killed in combat but was tragically killed trying to save others in a tragic accident."
His parents described him as strong-minded, independent and determined, as well as a hugely popular "people person".
Speaking after the inquest Mrs Blannin said: "We hope in time the government comes to recognise what these individuals have done.
"Jac wanted to make the place safe before he left. He was literally due to leave within a few hours, which makes it much more difficult to take.
"I think he has made a massive difference. I have always been proud of Jac. He has shone a light on what has been happening to the Kurds in Syria.
"I would never encourage anyone to go there though as I wouldn’t want anybody to go through what we have gone through as a family."