A BRITISH paraglider stabbed to death in Mongolia for his wallet told his wife he felt safer there than in Manchester, an inquest heard today.
Steven Nash, 53, from Helsby, Cheshire, had planned to travel 10 days across the Khangai Nuruu mountain range with his pal Gareth Aston in August, 2016.
Mr Nash continued solo after Mr Aston suffered a hip injury about halfway through the journey, an inquest at Parr Hall in Warrington heard.
But the day after they separated his body was found in a valley by locals.
Senior coroner for Cheshire Alan Moore recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing after hearing a man was convicted of Mr Nash's murder in Mongolia.
In a statement, his widow Shirley, 60, said Mr Nash had seen the trip to Mongolia as "unfinished business" after he attempted the trip across the remote region in 2006, but had to turn back due to bad weather.
Before he left she had asked him if he would be safe and he replied: "Mongolia has the nicest, friendliest and kindest people.
"I'm probably safer there than in Manchester."
Paying tribute to Mr Nash, she said: "Anyone can get married and have a husband or a wife but not everyone has a soulmate, best friend and life together that fits perfectly like a thousand piece jigsaw."
Gantulga Batsukh, 39, was convicted of Mr Nash's murder in Mongolia and sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2017.
The inquest was told he had appealed against his conviction but it was upheld and two years were added to his sentence.
Anyone can get married and have a husband or a wife but not everyone has a soulmate, best friend and life together that fits perfectly like a thousand piece jigsaw
Mr Aston said the night before he left Mr Nash they had used a satellite phone belonging to a group of nomads to arrange for him to be picked up the following day.
He was picked up around 10am and Mr Nash began setting off about the same time, he said.
But Mr Aston said he became concerned the next day because Mr Nash's GPS tracker had not moved far and he was then contacted by police.
Sergeant Justin Jones, from Cheshire Police, said Mr Nash's body was found by locals under a hunting cover in Khuut in the Khandargat Pass.
He told the court there was evidence the defendant had returned home, on a horse, at about 3pm on August 31 and so Mr Nash's death would have occurred between 11am and 3pm that day.
The court heard a post mortem showed Mr Nash sustained two stab wounds and one of those penetrated the aorta, the main artery from the heart.
Concluding the inquest, Mr Moore said: "From what I have heard today, Steve was dearly loved by his family and friends and very much admired by all those who had the pleasure to meet him.
"It is clear to me that he had an adventurous spirit, and that's putting it mildly, and a real zest for life and clearly he is very much missed.
Shane Smith, of Slater and Gordon who represented the Nash family, said: "Losing a loved one is always tragic, but Steve's family's grief is made all the worse knowing that it was so needless.
"The evidence put before the coroner was extremely difficult for Steve's family to hear, but they know it's an important step in the process of understanding what happened."
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