Joshua Hoole death: Father of Catterick Garrison soldier wants inquest reopened

  • Report by Ralph Blunsom

The father of a soldier from Ecclefechan who died during a fitness test wants the inquest reopened to record a verdict of unlawful killing.

Corporal Joshua Hoole, who was based at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, died after collapsing a short distance from the end of a training route in Brecon, Wales on 19 July 2016 - the hottest day of that year.

A 2019 inquest into his death ruled the 26-year-old died after suffering a sudden cardiac death associated with high cardiovascular workload due to exercise and heat stress.

But a verdict of unlawful killing against the Ministry of Defence was not reached.

Joshua Hoole Credit: Family photo

It found the fitness test "should not have taken place" in such extreme heat and that "serious mistakes were made".

Joshua's death had previously been put down to an undiagnosed heart condition.

His father Phillip Hoole now says he has amassed enough evidence of procedures not being followed correctly to have the inquest reopened.

He plans to send his evidence to Birmingham's senior coroner, Louise Hunt.

"Hopefully, she'll review the original inquest and with the new evidence, I'm hoping under section 13 of the Coroner's Act that the inquest will be re-opened," he told ITV News.

Joshua Hoole's death: A timeline

  • July 2013 - Three army reservists die in the Brecon Beacons from fatal heat illnesses.

  • 7am, 19 July 2016 - 41 soldiers set off an eight-mile route carrying 55lb packs.

  • 8am, 19 July 2016 - Temperature gauge records 17 degrees celsius. An expert told the inquest this was "erroneously low" due to being positioned in the shade.

  • 8:30am 19 July 2016 - Two soldiers have collapsed, one with his "eyes rolling back". Ten withdraw by the halfway stage.

  • 8:52am 19 July 2016 - Joshua Hoole drops rapidly back and collapses from the ground just 400m from the finish. Within an hour, he is pronounced dead.

In a letter Phillip Hoole says was sent to him earlier this year, now seen by ITV News, the Government Legal Department said:

"Well, it's the first time that they've actually formally admitted that they did breach his rights to life," said Mr Hoole in response to the letter.

The Ministry of Defence has provided the following statement:

"Our thoughts remain with Corporal Hoole's family and friends.

"Lessons have been learned from this tragic incident and we regularly review our policy on heat illness to minimise the risk to personnel while on exercises."

Phillip Hoole says he's sending his new evidence about his son's death to Birmingham's chief coroner and to the Health and Safety Executive in the next few days.