A soldier who returned to the UK from Afghanistan for Christmas has been killed after being in collision with a taxi.
Lee Foley, 26
, had been on a night out in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, with his parents and girlfriend when he was struck by the car and later died in hospital.
The accident happened at 10.30pm on New Year's Eve when the family were in the town centre to enjoy the celebrations.
His parents, Paul and Sian, and sister Lyndsey, 23, were today too upset to speak but a family friend said: 'It is so tragic. He has been dodging bullets in Afghanistan on two tours of duty out there.
'It is unbelievable that he then gets killed on a night out back home with his family. Everyone is heartbroken - he was a smashing lad.
'A lot of tears are being shed.'
'They were so proud of him. Naturally, like the parents of all squaddies in Afghanistan, they were worried about him and glad to have him home.
'He was going to rejoin his regiment on January 10 and then due to go back out to Afghanistan later this year.
'It is a tragic way to start the New Year - everyone is heartbroken.'
Mr Foley joined the Army as a teenager and was a member of 39 Squadron of the Royal Engineers.
In 2008 he completed the Three Peaks Challenge as part of his squadron’s team, the Ponderoza Plodders.
He was fifth to cross the finishing line out of the 185 competitors who scaled Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.
His father Paul, said at the time: 'He trained really hard for it and it was lovely to see him crossing the line at the bottom of Snowdon. He has done very, very well.'
Floral tributes were left at the scene of the crash yesterday, with one card reading: 'RIP Lee, a lovely person. So, so sad. A pleasure to know you.'
Tributes were also paid on Facebook where friend Iain Jones, 26, of Merthyr Tydfil, said: 'RIP Lee. You were a good guy. This tragedy will touch many people. Thoughts go out to the family and friends.'
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said: 'At approximately 10.10pm on Saturday, December 31, a fatal road traffic collision occurred in Merthyr Tydfil town centre.
'A 26-year-old local male pedestrian was in collision with a black Vauxhall Astra estate taxi and later died of his injuries at hospital.
'A police family liaison officer has been appointed to support the next of kin.'