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Elaine View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2016 at 10:21am
L/Cpl James Brynin inquest adjourned amid homicide concern

18 March 2016
L/Cpl James Brynin served with the 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)

The inquest into the death of a soldier killed by friendly-fire in Afghanistan has been adjourned amid concerns it may have been a homicide.

L/Cpl James Brynin, 22, who served with the 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare), was shot in Helmand Province on 15 October 2013.

Another British soldier told the court he fired the fatal shot in the belief he was shooting a Taliban insurgent.

The case has been referred to the Service Prosecuting Authority.

West Sussex senior coroner Penelope Schofield adjourned the inquest at Chichester Coroner's Court under Rule 25(4) Coroners and Justice Act 2015.

It states: "A coroner must adjourn an inquest and notify the Director of Public Prosecutions, if during the course of the inquest, it appears to the coroner that the death of the deceased is likely to have been due to a homicide offence and that a person may be charged in relation to the offence."

The inquest was adjourned on Thursday after hearing six days of evidence.

"The case will stand adjourned pending any decision by the Service Prosecuting Authority," a statement released on behalf of the coroner said.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "We note the coroner's decision to adjourn the inquest into the death of L/Cpl James Brynin, pending a further review of the case. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time."

The Service Prosecuting Authority said it had not received a referral in relation to the incident.

In a statement, it said: "Should further evidence come to light and the Royal Military Police reopen the investigation, then the Service Prosecuting Authority will provide advice to that investigation if requested and, if the case is referred for a decision on charging, make any such decision in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors."

L/Cpl Brynin, known as Jay, was born in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, and based at Cawdor Barracks in Pembrokeshire.

He worked as an intelligence analyst and had been selected for promotion to corporal when his patrol was attacked by enemy fire in Kakaran, north east of Lashkar Gah.

He died at the scene despite receiving "immediate medical attention", the MoD said.

Edited by Elaine - 19 Mar 2016 at 10:22am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2017 at 1:17am
A British soldier killed in a "friendly fire" shooting in Afghanistan was not unlawfully killed, a coroner has concluded.

L/Cpl James Brynin, 22, from West Sussex, died in 2013 while carrying out intelligence work on the Taliban.

After coming under enemy attack, L/Cpl of Horse Mark Kelly fired in the wrong direction and shot him.

On Monday, the inquest was told he would not face prosecution over the death.

An inquest last year was adjourned over concerns it may have been a homicide.

Coroner Penelope Schofield told the resumed inquest L/CoH Kelly had not taken "sufficient care" and was "disorientated" when he fired.

She described how he "fired in rapid succession" while resting his gun on the helmet of another soldier.

After the inquest, L/Cpl Brynin's father Efrem Brynin said of L/CoH Kelly: "His errors led directly to our son's death. He has, and will forever have, James's blood on his hands."

'Great loss'

L/Cpl Brynin was part of a troop carrying out intelligence work in the Kakaran area, north east of Lashkar Gah, when he was shot on 15 October, 2013.

Ms Schofield told the hearing L/CoH Kelly believed he was firing at an insurgent. She said he accepted it was a "massive mistake" but felt there was an imminent threat to life.

Lawyer Thomas Coke-Smyth, for L/Cpl Brynin's family, said there was evidence the risk he took was "unreasonable".

But Nicholas Moss, representing the Ministry of Defence (MOD), said there was insufficient evidence to conclude the death was an unlawful killing.

He said it was a "stressful situation" that called for self-defence.

'Lack of empathy'

Lt Col Edward Hayward, commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Regiment, told the inquest L/CoH Kelly had since undergone additional training.

Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Schofield said she would write a "letter of concern" to the MoD on how it managed the Brynin family.

They only found out L/Cpl Brynin was killed by friendly fire three months after his death, the inquest heard.

Ms Schofield said there appeared to have been a "complete lack of empathy" and the family was "let down".

Mr Brynin said: "It seems incredible to us that we should have to speak out for our dead son whilst the MoD has sought to excuse itself of any wrongdoing."

In a statement, an MOD spokesperson said its thoughts were with L/Cpl Brynin's family and friends.

It added: "His death was a great loss to them and... a great loss to the Army as well."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jan 2017 at 8:53pm
Army veteran who served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and then played a battle-scarred squaddie on West End stage killed himself after suffering PTSD
Soldier had toured Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq during long career in the Army
He had since appeared in a play about the struggles of ex-service personnel
But he was himself diagnosed with PTSD and suffered depression, inquest hears
Father-of-one took his own life after a night out with his partner in Swansea

By Richard Spillett for MailOnline

Published: 11:14, 24 January 2017 | Updated: 11:49, 24 January 2017

Former soldier Gareth Crabb - who starred in a play about the challenges faced by ex-service personnel - took his own life after suffering PTSD, an inquest heard

Former soldier Gareth Crabb - who starred in a play about the challenges faced by ex-service personnel - took his own life after suffering PTSD, an inquest heard

A soldier who turned West End actor to highlight the plight of war veterans took his own life after suffering PTSD, a coroner has ruled.

Bombardier Gareth Crabbe was hailed in his stage performance as a battle-scarred soldier in the London play - and was applauded by actor Ray Winstone.

But an inquest heard the father-of-one was haunted by his experiences in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and killed himself after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

The hearing was told Mr Crabbe, 38, died after a night out in Swansea, South Wales in June last year with his partner Danielle.

She said his mood changed during the walk back to their home and she found him dead after she briefly left him alone.

'I went to the toilet - we're talking seconds,' she told the inquest. 'I thought he had hurt himself so I ran downstairs to see what happened.'

Mr Crabbe, who served in the Royal Artillery since the age of 18, had been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in 2009.

The condition related to the sights he had to endure whilst with the armed forces.

He was also crushed under a two-tonne gun before he was due to go Helmand Province in Afghanistan.

The inquest heard he also became addicted to his painkillers.

Mr Crabbe had been praised by actors including Ray Winstone after appearing in the play

Mr Crabbe's wife and the mother of his son, Tina Jamieson, who he split up with in 2006 and is originally from Germany, told of his depression.

She told the inquest: 'A week before he died, he phoned me and was very distressed.'

The inquest in Swansea Coroner's Court also heard that Mr Crabbe's flat had been burgled in May of last year, which also significantly contributed to his anxiety.

'He felt violated by this burglary,' said his ex-wife Tina Jamieson.

He had suffered depression due to memories of what he witnessed on tours abroad

'He felt like he had lost the feeling of being a soldier or a man because somebody went into his flat and took some of his belongings.'

Coroner Colin Philips recorded Mr Crabbe's death as suicide.

After the hearing, Ms Jamieson said he had been 'neglected' after his 17 years in the Army.

'They just have nothing in place to look after their own people. It's not just an employee, it's a life,' she said after the inquest.

'When you're discharged from the army you do not just lose a job, you lose your home, your friends, everything.

'That's why we have homeless veterans, it's because of the lack of care - they don't learn to be civilians.'

The inquest heard that whilst serving in the army Mr Crabbe had been a part of 'Operation Telic', which was the codename for the United Kingdom's military operations in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.

There he once tried to save the lives of people who had been involved in a train collision but he was unable to help them survive.

He also attended the scene where a bus had come off a bridge - and had to endure the sight of multiple dead bodies.

Mr Crabbe needed spinal disc replacement after an incident on training, the inquest heard

He was medically discharged from the army in 2012 - but was delighted to win a place in the West End show with other injured vets in their stage unit called Bravo 22.

Actor Winstone was the show's ambassador and Gareth was also praised by actresses Barbara Windsor and Caroline Quentin

An Army spokesman said: 'The mental health of everyone who serves our country is of the utmost importance.

'Help is readily available for those with health issues due to service and we encourage those that need help to come forward and get the assistance they deserve.'

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details.

Read more: Samaritans |

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Edited by Elaine - 1 second ago at 8:52pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2017 at 9:20am
By Amie Gordon For Mailonline

Published: 18:49, 12 April 2017 | Updated: 22:48, 12 April 2017

Lance Corporal Ali Woodford, 26, suffered fatal injuries after he collided with another serviceman on his first day of parachute training

Lance Corporal Ali Woodford, 26, suffered fatal injuries after he collided with another serviceman on his first day of parachute training

A British soldier was killed on the first day of his parachute training after he collided mid-air with another serviceman.

Lance Corporal Ali Woodford, 26, was on his third jump of the day when his parachute became entangled with another at 3,800ft and he fell to the ground, suffering multiple fatal injuries.

A joint service inquiry was held today into the death of the married father-of-one from North Petherton, Somerset, who was serving with the 1st Battalion, The Rifles.

A damning government report into the incident also revealed a catalogue of failures and concluded Lance Corporal Woodford's death was 'potentially avoidable'.   

LCpl Woodford - who had been a heavy machine gunner in Afghanistan in 2011 - became entangled in the parachute of a fellow student, identified only as Student A, when they did not see one another and collided.

They were in a group of 14 servicemen training at the now defunct Rhine Army Parachute Association's (RAPA) base in Sennelager, Germany in September 2015.

Student A jumped from 3,800 feet 15 seconds before LCpl Woodford, and they did a number of turns during the descent.

The inquest heard there were 'conflicting instructions' from a chief and senior instructors ahead of the collision, which put them on a converging flight path.

Senior Somerset coroner Tony Williams said the two men got too close to each other and there had been no training about what to do if there was a collision or accident.

Mr Williams said they became entangled at 780 feet and remained entangled for eight seconds.
LCpl Woodford operated his reserve chute at 460 feet but he had been knocked backwards and the canopy did not open properly.

Student A only operated his spare chute at 279 feet above the ground, 14 seconds after the collision, but landed uninjured when the canopy opened up 30 feet above the ground.

The chief instructor who had one way radio contact with them was heard to say 'oh s**t' when they collided.

The report also noted only one instructor on the ground was doing two jobs and the panel made 48 recommendations and 389 observations about good practice.

Mr Williams concluded LCpl Woodford's death was accidental. But the inquest heard there had been 'no criminal conduct or criminal military conduct'.

The coroner said a report by Air Marshall Sir Richard Garwood concluded there was a 'catalogue of safety shortcomings and governance' at the RAPA base.

He said there was a lack of collision training because they did not want to 'overload the students', 'poor safety management' and 'contradictory' instructions as well as a 'complacent attitude'.

LCpl Woodford is the 125th member of the Armed Forces to have died during training or on exercise in the past 15 years.

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Edited by Elaine - 13 Apr 2017 at 9:59am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elaine Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2018 at 9:02am

An air-tight seal stopping high-explosive gases escaping into a tank crew’s turret was not in place before a lethal blast, an inquest into the deaths of two soldiers has heard.

Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson, both of the Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), died of their injuries after an explosion in their tank at the Castlemartin firing ranges in Pembrokeshire on June 14, 2017.

Cpl Neilson, 31 and from Preston, Lancashire, was the tank commander and was thrown from Challenger 2 during the blast while Cpl Hatfield, 27, from Amesbury, Wiltshire, was loading ammunition.

Evidence has also been heard that the tank shell’s ammunition, known as “bag charges”, may have been “incorrectly stowed” outside boxes within the turret.

It also emerged the men, both highly trained gunnery instructors with combat experience, were only in the powerful battle tank because they were taking another soldier out for a “guest shoot”.

Resuming their inquests on Monday, a coroner said a crew of four, including the two men, took the tank to the British Army range’s firing point after it had been used by another team for an annual crew test.

She said a piece of equipment fitted to the tank barrel, called the bolt vent axial (BVA), had been removed by the previous crew.

Police investigators said its removal was standard practice, as it required post-firing inspection, and it was placed in a box within the tank turret called the “brew bin”.

Detective Sergeant Matthew Briggs, of Dyfed-Powys Police, told the hearing in Solihull, West Midlands: “As it required inspection before refit the BVA was put in brew bin.”

After the explosion the BVA was found alongside the mobile phone later identified as belonging to father-of-one Cpl Hatfield.

Mr Briggs, presenting a “suspected sequence of events”, said as they prepared the gun for firing a display unit on the loader’s guard inside the turret would have shown a “red light” as the BVA was not fitted, preventing firing.

He said that Cpl Hatfield “would have followed correct procedure” by manually fitting another piece of equipment – the tube vent electric (TVE).

Mr Briggs added: “As TVE has been fitted manually it would have shown a green light.”

He said: “As there was no BVA there would be no gas tight seal and the force of the bag charge would have come back into the turret.”

Senior Coroner Louise Hunt earlier read a statement setting out what then happened: “At around 3.30pm a hissing sound was heard and noises and smoke.

“Corporal Neilson was seen to be climbing out of the commander’s turret and there was an explosion.

“He was projected out the turret, landing some distance away.”

Major John Poole, head of establishment – and in charge of safe firing that day – told the court he heard at his position in the base’s observation tower “stop, stop, stop” over the radio and reports of a “catastrophic failure” at Range Four.

He shut down all firing at the range and called 999.

The coroner heard evidence the tank had only been taken out that afternoon because the deputy safety training officer, Warrant Officer Stuart Lawson, had asked permission to go out and fire a tank.

Maj Poole told Ms Hunt permission had come from RTR’s commanding officer, Lt Col Simon Ridgway.

But giving evidence in the witness box Maj Poole said according to Ministry of Defence rules in pamphlet 21 it needed “two-star written authorisation” – effectively from a brigadier rank officer – to allow a non-trained soldier into a tank.

That would have been a level above that of the commanding officer, the inquest heard.

WO Lawson and another trooper in the tank were injured but survived the blast.
When Ms Hunt asked Maj Poole why, in a statement made to an MoD joint services enquiry team, he had said he was “not impressed” WO Lawson was in the tank, he replied it was only because his deputy had been injured.

The coroner also read a statement from Lt Col Ridgway in which he had said there was “genuine military justification for WO Lawson to be in the turret to observe firing”, in order to improve the range officer’s understanding of the tank fire operations.

Maj Poole, who joined the Army in 1986, was also asked by Ms Hunt about his knowledge of “incorrect stowed baggage charges” in tank turrets and whether he knew if it went on.

He said “as a young corporal” he had stowed the explosive breach-loaded bags incorrectly, outside storage boxes, but things were now more “strict” and much more safety-conscious.

But in a statement to the MoD team he had said: “To think those boys stowed those bag charges incorrectly is a little disappointing to be honest I would have thought they’d have known better.”

He added: “Whether they were trying to show off to Mr Lawson, or trying to get through it (firing) as quickly as possible, I don’t know.”
When asked if he was aware of the practice by other crews, he responded: “Well, we’re here because somebody else hasn’t stored charges correctly.”

Since the incident he said the gunnery school had made changes to the way charges were stowed.

The hearing continues.


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Edited by Elaine - 03 Jul 2018 at 9:07am
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