Verdict – Royal Navy officer ‘unlawfully killed’ in submarine shooting

Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux, who was shot dead

Father-of-four Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux was shot in the head at close range

A navy officer was unlawfully killed by a junior rating on board a nuclear submarine, a coroner has said.

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, 23, shot Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux, 36, of Wigan, Greater Manchester, at close range on HMS Astute in Southampton.

He had been on a two-day drinking binge before the attack in April 2011.

Recording a narrative verdict, Coroner Keith Wiseman said he would recommend that random breath testing for Royal Navy personnel be implemented.

Donovan was jailed for life in September 2011 with a minimum term of 25 years after pleading guilty at Winchester Crown Court to the murder of the father-of-four.

The 23-year-old, of Hillside Road, also admitted the attempted murders of Lt Cdr Hodge, 45, Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37.

Vodka and cocktails

Mr Wiseman said a culture of drinking to excess had to stop, and a system of alcohol testing prior to duty should be introduced.

// Captain Phil Buckley said the Royal Navy had “learnt lessons”

The inquest at Southampton Civic Centre heard Donovan had drunk more than 20 pints of cider and lager over two days prior to the attack.

He had also drunk vodka and cocktails before being put on guard duty with a gun while more than three times above the alcohol limit for driving.

Tests revealed Donovan’s blood would have contained 139mg of alcohol per 100ml – 76% above the drink-drive limit.

Police investigating the murder were so concerned about binge drinking by the crew while ashore, that the senior officer wrote to Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Alex Marshall to highlight the issue and it was passed to military authorities.

The Royal Navy has since tightened its rules on alcohol consumption before duty.

At the time sailors were allowed 10 units in 24-hours with no alcohol in the 10 hours before duty. This has now been changed to five units.

Source – BBC News

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