A Scottish soldier has died after falling down a flight of stairs while on holiday with his girlfriend in Portugal.

Lance Corporal Darren Lackie of the Black Watch, who had served in Afghanistan, was injured on Thursday and taken to hospital.

It is understood the 22-year-old was found at the bottom of the stairs and police are investigating.

L/Cpl Lackie, originally from Cupar in Fife, was put on life support at the hospital in Faro before he died.

His parents flew out on Friday to be with him.

Tributes have been paid to the former pupil of Cupar’s Bell Baxter High School. He had moved to Inverness, where he was stationed at Fort George.

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Fenton, commanding officer of 3 Scots, said: “It is with deep regret that we learn of the tragic death of L/Cpl Darren Lackie whilst on much-deserved leave in Faro, Portugal.

“In L/Cpl Lackie, The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 Scots) has lost one of its young rising stars who had already taken the first steps towards higher rank and greater responsibility.”

He continued: “Having completed an operational tour of Afghanistan with the 3 Scots battle group in 2009 he was training in preparation for a possible return to Afghanistan later this year.

“Bright, enthusiastic, brave and entirely professional, he was a very popular member of B Company and the battalion.

“L/Cpl Lackie will be very much missed by us all.

“He leaves behind a loving family and girlfriend who are very much in our thoughts and prayers.”

Friends and colleagues paid tribute to the soldier on Facebook yesterday with one describing him as the “Black Watch’s finest”.

Another friend said: “God has taking our hero Darren Lackie. Will never forget his banter. I will never forget our child hood memories. Sleep tight, pal.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Common- wealth Office said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Faro, Portugal.

“We were informed of his death on April 3 and we continue to provide consular assistance to his family.”

Taken from the P & J