Footage showing US troops firing on ITN journalist Terry Lloyd may have been edited out of a video sent to British investigators, his inquest heard yesterday.

Royal Military Police (RMP) investigator Major Kay Roberts told the inquest that a forensic video expert had looked at a tape and estimated 15 minutes of film had been cut from the start.

The film, taken by a cameraman attached to the unit thought to be responsible for firing on Mr Lloyd, opens with footage of the team's burnt-out vehicles.

The coroner asked Major Roberts: "Part of the footage appears to have been edited around the time, perhaps, that Mr Lloyd may have been involved in the incident.

"Your experts analysed the video footage and it showed parts of it missing - we don't know what was taken out and we don't know how much was taken out."

She responded: "He does conclude that at the start of the recording the timeframe jumps by about 15 minutes."

The US authorities initially wrote to cameraman Fred Nerac's wife Fabienne Mercier-Nerac denying that they had been at the scene when the ITN team was attacked.

Major Roberts said she was sent the video - together with statements from unnamed soldiers that the coroner declined to read - "many months later".

The RMP normally investigate only military deaths and Major Roberts was, at the time of the killings, initially involved only in investigating the abduction and murder of two soldiers on the same road the next day.