Tag Archives: Inquest

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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Binge drinking on submarine shocks police investigating fatal shooting

Ian Molyneux inquest

Royal Navy Commander Iain Breckenridge leaves the inquest in Southampton after giving evidence into the death of Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux.

Ryan Donovan had drunk 20 pints, as well as cocktails and vodkas, before he was put on a duty with a gun, hearing told

Police investigating a naval rating shooting dead an officer on board a submarine were so alarmed by the crew’s binge drinking that the chief constable was informed and he then contacted military authorities, an inquest has heard.

Detective Superintendent Tony Harris interviewed the crew aboard HMS Astute following the shooting of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux by Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, who was 76% above the drink-drive limit.

The hearing in Southampton was told the officer was “highly alarmed” by the crew’s alcohol consumption and he wrote to the Hampshire chief constable, Alex Marshall, with his concerns. His boss then contacted Brigadier Neil Baverstock.

After talking to the crew, detectives concluded that Donovan’s drink intake was not out of the ordinary.

The hearing previously heard he had drunk 20 pints of cider and lager, cocktails and double vodkas in the 48 hours before he was put on a guard duty with a gun.

Richard Wilkinson, counsel for Lt Cdr Molyneux’s family, told the hearing police found significant numbers of the crew were involved in getting “drunk out of their minds”.

“Detective Superintendent Tony Harris was highly alarmed at the alcohol consumption of the Astute’s crew and he took the unprecedented action of writing to the chief constable.

“It was normal practice for the crew of the boat to drink heavily while on shore leave, consuming alcohol over an extended period until they passed out and then returned to duty after five or six hours,” he told the hearing.

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

At the time sailors were allowed 10 units in the previous 24 hours with no alcohol in the 10 hours before duty, which has been changed to five units.

Wilkinson asked the nuclear-powered sub’s captain at the time, Commander Iain Breckenbridge, whether he had any concerns about his crew drinking ashore during the goodwill visit to Southampton in April 2011 when the killing and the shooting of another officer took place.

He told the inquest he had been told of no concerns about the crew and he had no concerns about Donovan before the shootings and he was surprised to hear of the police’s fears of binge drinking by the crew.

But when asked if tighter controls should be put in place to check such as breathalysing crew, Cdr Breckenbridge said: “To minimise the chances of a similar event, it’s something that should be seriously considered but that’s for the policy-makers.”

The inquest continues.

Source – The Guardian