Royal Irish officer guilty of manslaughter over shooting

An Army officer has been convicted over the killing of a 21-year-old soldier who was fatally shot during a training exercise, the MoD has said.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 12:46 am
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:08 pm
The Royal Irish Regiment's home page

Captain Jonathan Price, 32, was found guilty today of manslaughter by gross negligence following a seven-week court martial at Bulford, Wiltshire.

Ranger Michael Maguire came under fire during an exercise at Castlemartin Training Area, Pembrokeshire, in May 2012 for members of 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment.

From Co Cork, he died after being struck in the forehead by a stray bullet from a machine gun.

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Two other officers, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bell, 45, and Warrant Officer Stuart Pankhurst, 40, were convicted of negligently performing a duty.

The three defendants organised a live ammunition training exercise ahead of deployment to Kenya, the court heard.

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said soldiers on one part of a range were firing directly at those in another part of the range, who were about one kilometre away and would have been visible.

It was said Capt Price, now of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish, failed to attend reconnaissance of the range when preparing a safety plan, placed targets too close, and failed to “deconflict” the two exercises.

Col Bell, Capt Price’s company commander, was accused of failing to review or counter-sign the plan. WO Pankhurst, supervising the exercise, did attend the reconnaissance but was accused of failing to “express any caution or concern”.

The trio are expected to be sentenced on July 24.