Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Coroner rules that 'poor communication' led to friendly fire death

The order of service for the funeral of Lance Corporal Christopher Roney in 2010 Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A coroner looking into the death of a 23-year-old soldier killed in Afghanistan when a US Apache helicopter mistakenly attacked a British base, has ruled that the pilots were unaware that the compound they were watching was the Patrol Base Almas.

Lance Corporal Christopher Roney of 3rd Battalion The Rifles, died from head injuries he suffered while manning a position at Patrol Base Almas, in Sangin, Helmand, on December 21, 2009.

The coroner concluded that: "Those at Patrol Base ALMAS were professional and remained true to their training and procedures...the same can not be said of some of the others who were not at Patrol Base ALMAS."

A copy of the coroner's report in to the death of Lance Corporal Christopher Roney Credit: ITV News: Rupert Evelyn

The report stated that out of date mapping was a factor, "At the time of the incident bespoke mapping with all Friendly Forces locations marked had not yet been produced."

It also stated that, "There was no direct communication between Patrol Base ALMAS and Tactical Air Control Command" and that "poor communication across both ground and air crew led to misidentification of the target location"

The family of L/Cpl Roney have criticised the Ministry of Defence and said some of their actions have "upset them considerably"

It has occurred to us that the evidence supplied by the MoD has been delayed and timed to suit them, for reasons we don't know.

Also, we believe the documentation has been written and worded cleverly to make this incident look a lot less serious than what it actually was.

This has upset the family considerably and gives the family the impression that Chris and his comrades who were injured that night mean very little to the Army.

– FAMILY OF LANCE CORPORAL CHRISTOPHER RONEY

ITV News reporter Neil Connery visited his family shortly after he died in 2009: