SAS recruitment deaths: Two soldiers charged with negligence after three recruits died during Brecon Beacon exercise

Reservists died after collapsing during 'inadequately planned' 16-mile march on hottest day of year

Chris Baynes
Thursday 02 November 2017 09:16
The soldiers died of heat exhaustion on an SAS training march in the Brecon Beacons
The soldiers died of heat exhaustion on an SAS training march in the Brecon Beacons

Two special forces soldiers have been charged with negligence over the deaths of three recruits during an SAS training exercise in the Brecon Beacons.

Lance Corporals Craig Roberts and Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby died after collapsing as they marched in temperatures of more than 31C on the hottest day of 2013.

A coroner ruled their deaths were caused partly by neglect.

The Service Prosecution Authority (SPA) confirmed a charge of negligent performance of duty had been brought against a training officer and a chief instructor involved. The men face a maximum sentence of two years if convicted in a military court.

An inquest in 2015 heard planning of the 16-mile march had been "inadequate" and weather conditions were not taken into account in the risk assessment.

Coroner Louise Hunt also criticised the "failure to implement an adequate medical plan to allow for treatment of any heat illness casualties" and the insufficient water provided to those taking part in the exercise. She said the three men would have survived if given "basic treatment" of cooling, hydration, rest, and the removal of their kit.

From left: Lance Corporal Craig Roberts, Lance Corporal Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby

The chief instructor has since left the SAS but the training officer continues to serve.

They have not been named and will be known only as 1A and 1B during their trial.

The SPA initially decided not to charge the pair but relatives of the soldiers who died asked for case to be reviewed.

Two of those soldiers – L/Cpl Maher, 34, from Winchester, and L/Cpl Roberts, 24, from Llandudno – died on the hills after suffering heatstroke while marching Pen y Fen, the highest peak in south Wales. Cpl Dunsby, 34, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, died of multiple organ failure two weeks later in hospital.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "Any decision to prosecute any personnel, veteran or serving, is made by the Service Prosecution Authority, an independent body."

Last year the Health and Safety Executive reprimanded the MoD with an official censure - the highest action possible in the circumstances - over the soldiers' death.

The MoD only escaped prosecution because of a historic convention that grants it legal immunity.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in