THE wife of a bodyguard killed in Iraq says a single bullet has ripped her life apart.

Robert Swann, 45, died when he was shot in the neck in the badlands of Tikrit, while protecting American government VIPs.

Now his wife Angela is facing up to life without her soulmate, who she described as having a heart of gold.

Angela, 32, met Robert when the couple worked together at the Fusion bar in Old Town.

Robert, who was well known among door staff in the town, was employed as a doorman, while Angela worked behind the bar.

They instantly hit it off, marrying in New York's Central Park a year after meeting.

"I knew straight away that he was the one, we just clicked straight away," recalled Angela.

"He was such a joker. He was the life and soul of the party. And I know he was laughing and joking right until the morning he died.

"Although he has gone too early he lived his life to the full. He made friends everywhere he went.

"He was my soulmate, my best friend and my lover and I don't think you find that twice in a lifetime."

Robert, who was known to his mates as Swannie, was shot in the neck - the only part of his body not protected by body armour - as he manned a watchtower last Tuesday.

He had spent the last seven years in Iraq but did not tell Angela he had been posted to the dangerous area of Tikrit for fear of worrying her.

He worked for Erinys, a security company which looks after American VIPs for the US government and last month received a medal from the Queen for his work in Iraq.

Angela, who now lives close to Robert's family in Newcastle, says she planned to beg her husband to leave his dangerous job when he came home on leave next month.

The couple had planned to start a family.

Angela, whose maiden name is Capobianco, is a former student at Churchfields School in Swindon. She says she was constantly on tenterhooks fearing for the safety of her husband.

"I always worried this would happen and I really wanted him to come home," she said. "I just felt he had been over there too long and that something might happen.

"I said we would sit down and talk about it when he came back in October.

"He just wanted to make Iraq safer for the people there.

"He used to take as many clothes and shoes as he could carry over there to give to the poor children who had nothing.

"And he took some footballs and Newcastle United shirts over so he could play football with the children.

"He loved his job so much and whatever pain I'm going through now I just couldn't take that away from him."

Tributes have been flooding in from across the world to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle following news of Robert's death.

Robert Ponting, from Swindon, said: "To my long time best mate's family and friends. Me and my family are with you all.

"In the loss of Robert Swann, he was one of the best: a Geordie, an officer and a gentleman. He will always be remembered."

Angela is waiting to find out when her husband's body is due to be flown home.

He received a full military send-off when he was transported from Iraq to Kuwait but red tape is holding up the return of his body.

Robert's funeral is due to take place early next week. Angela plans to have him cremated in a Newcastle Falcons rugby shirt and the club has agreed to provide her with a signed shirt.