A FORMER Hampshire man has been killed while working as a bodyguard in Iraq.

Southampton born Karl Bowen, 30, died in a road accident when the car he was driving suffered a double blow out.

The father-of-two was killed in the crash alongside an Iraqi interpreter. An American colleague was critically injured.

Mr Bowen, a former solider, had been working in the Kirkuk region of Iraq providing close protection for a private security firm.

His mother Clare Bowen, who lives in Winchester, said he returned to the country after a spell in civilian jobs because he missed the camaraderie of working in the army.

She described him as a “wonderful kid” who “put his heart and soul" into everything he did.

She said he had talked about the risks but “wasn’t afraid to die”.

She said: “He used to say to me 'Mum, you've got to go sometime and I'd rather go doing a job that I love' and working with people he loved - which basically is what he did."

Tributes have described Mr Bowen as a great father, a “legend”, an outstanding friend and football player, who was the life and soul of the party.

Mr Bowen, who lived in the south Wales Valleys, had returned to Iraq just days before the car crash on September 14.

He served in 2 Company 1st Battalion Welsh Guards for eight years, touring war-torn countries like Bosnia and Iraq.

His mother said he had moved to Abercwmboi to be with his girlfriend.