Live updates

Coroner: Soldiers would have survived if army had followed its own rules

Cpl James Dunsby died of multiple organ failure caused by overheating in July 2013. Credit: Ministry of Defence

A coroner has ruled that neglect contributed to the deaths of three soldiers, including Corporal James Dunsby from Wiltshire, who collapsed during a 16-mile SAS training march.

Recording narrative verdicts at an inquest in Solihull, senior Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said all three soldiers would have survived if Ministry of Defence regulations on heat illness had been followed.

Ms Hunt criticised inadequate planning, badly functioning technology, a "chaotic" response to the men's initial collapse, and "a catalogue of very serious mistakes" by many people in the organisation.

Corporal Dunsby died in hospital from multiple organ failure more than two weeks after collapsing on the march in July 2013. Lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the Brecon Beacons after suffering heatstroke.

Army apologises for deaths of soldiers during training process

James Dunsby, from Trowbridge, suffered multiple organ failure from overheating. Credit: Ministry of Defence

The Army has apologised for the deaths of three soldiers who died during an SAS training process, after the coroner ruled that neglect contributed to their deaths.

Speaking outside the coroner's court, spokesman Brigadier John Donnelly described James Dunsby, Craig Roberts and Edward Maher as "fine soldiers", though incorrectly referring to Corporal Dunsby as James Dunsford.

Cpl James Dunsby, from Wiltshire, collapsed during the march in the Brecon Beacons in July 2013, and died from multiple organ failure in hospital two weeks later. His wife has challenged the Ministry of Defence to accept responsibility and make the right changes.

Lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were pronounced dead on the march after suffering heatstroke.

Brigadier Donnelly said changes had already been made to the particular training procedure that led to the men's deaths, but that the Army would study the coroner's conclusions closely.

Advertisement

Soldier's widow says mistakes 'will be repeated' unless things change

Bryher Dunsby said her husband would have been Credit: ITV News

The widow of a soldier who died after an SAS training march has demanded that the Ministry of Defence accept responsibility for the failures which led to her husband's death.

As the coroner rules that James Dunsby died because of failings in how the training was organised and managed, Bryher Dunsby has said outside the coroner's court that the MoD has "displayed no responsibility, no accountability and no humility".

James Dunsby died from multiple organ failure and overheating in 2013. Credit: Ministry of Defence

In an emotional tribute to her husband, she described him as "chivalrous, loyal and high-spirited", and urged those who knew him to remember him as he was in life rather than by how he died.

She said he would have been "so hugely disappointed" in an organisation that he loved, and that these mistakes would happen again unless those at the top were willing to acknowledge them.

Mrs Dunsby challenged the MoD to make the right changes to "equipment training and to procedure", so that the death of Cpl Dunsby, as well as those of Lance Corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts, were not in vain.

  1. Alex Lodge

Video: how three soldiers died on a training exercise

Cpl James Dunsby from Trowbridge was one of three reservists training to join the SAS when he died on a training exercise two years ago. Alex Lodge reports on that fateful day.

Coroner: lack of preparation contributed to soldiers' deaths

Coroner Louise Hunt Credit: HM Coroner's Office

A lack of build-up marches contributed to the deaths of three army reservists who collapsed on an SAS test exercise, a coroner has said. In comments to the final day of an inquest in Solihull, Senior Birmingham Coroner Louise Hunt also ruled that checkpoint staff had missed signs of heat illness in one of those who died.

The inquest has heard that lance corporals Edward Maher and Craig Roberts were both pronounced dead on the Brecon Beacons after suffering heatstroke in July 2013. Corporal James Dunsby from Trowbridge died at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital from multiple organ failure more than two weeks after the march.

Ruling that the lack of build-up marches in the week before the march had contributed to the deaths, Ms Hunt stressed that fitness was different to conditioning and that all those who died had been "very fit".

"I consider that the risk assessment was not adequate for the march being undertaken. It failed to address the increased risk of heat illness based on the weather forecast.

"It failed to have a clear plan for how to get to and treat any heat injury casualties that occurred."

– Coroner Louise Hunt

Coroner's damning conclusions on Wiltshire soldier's death

Cpl James Dunsby from Trowbridge was one of three reservists to die Credit: Ministry of Defence

The coroner at the inquest into a soldier from Wiltshire who was one of three to die on an exercise in Wales has begun giving her verdict. Cpl James Dunsby from Trowbridge died from multiple organ failure and hyperthermia (overheating) on the SAS exercise in the Brecon Beacons on a hot day in July two years ago.

The Birmingham coroner Louise Hunt said the organisers of the exercise had failed to made dynamic risk assessments, gave inadequate briefings and left the reservist candidates confused as to where water would be.

The trainees were given no advice about water consumption and organisers identified the wrong hospital as being the closest for casualties. One commander admitted he did not know the day's weather forecast.

Advertisement

Father of soldier who died after training says he hasn't had an apology

A coroner is considering her verdict into the deaths of three reservist soldiers who died on an SAS selection exercise.

Corporal James Dunsby from Trowbridge was one of the three who was killed after overheating on the march in the Brecon Beacons in July 2013.

His father has told ITV News he hasn't had an apology, and the SAS let his son down. Alexandra Lodge met him on the route of his son's fatal march.

Father of soldier who died after training shown wrong place of son's collapse

Cpl James Dunsby died of heatstroke in July 2013, along with two other army reservists. Credit: Ministry of Defence

The father of a soldier from Trowbridge, who died after an SAS test march on the Brecon Beacons, was taken to the wrong place when he asked to see where his son had collapsed.

The error was revealed during the questioning of an SAS training officer at an inquest into the death of Corporal James Dunsby and two other reservists.

The soldier being questioned said there was "no rhyme or reason why that should have been done."

Corporal Dunsby, a trained combat medic and Afghanistan veteran, died of heatstroke in hospital in July 2013, 17 days after collapsing on the training march.

Hiker tried to help Trowbridge soldier before he collapsed on Brecon Beacons

James Dunsby died in July 2013, two weeks after collapsing on the Brecon Beacons. Credit: ITV News

A civilian passer-by was asked to fan down a heat-stricken Army reservist from Trowbridge who died after collapsing on an SAS test march, an inquest has heard.

The walker, who was not named at the hearing into the deaths of three reservists, was also instructed to hold the head of Corporal James Dunsby while four other soldiers carried him on a stretcher.

Cpl Dunsby, 31, died at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in July 2013, two weeks after collapsing on the Brecon Beacons.

Cpl Dunsby, who collapsed from heat illness near a main road, is said to have been moving "between running and a fast walk" on the final leg of the march. Another candidate for the reserve SAS, known by the codename 4Y, told the inquest earlier: "He ran on ahead, saying he could make the time. I said to him, 'I'm sorry, I can't. I can't go at that pace' and that is the last time I saw him."

In a statement read to the court by the coroner, a senior paramedic with 23 years of experience said Cpl Dunsby's temperature was the highest he had ever encountered.

The inquest continues.

Load more updates