Jail for British Army captain guilty of death of soldier from Ireland in live fire exercise

Jail for British Army captain guilty of death of soldier from Ireland in live fire exercise

A BRITISH ARMY captain has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after a soldier from Ireland was killed in a live fire training exercise.

Ranger Michael Maguire, 21, of Co. Cork died in 2012 after being struck in the forehead by a stray machine gun bullet at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Captain Jonathan Price, 32, has now been jailed after he was convicted at a court martial last month of manslaughter by gross negligence.

He has also been dismissed from the British Army.

Mathew Sherratt QC, who was representing Price, had urged the court to impose a suspended sentence.

Passing sentence, Assistant Judge Advocate General Alan Large said the board had reduced the sentence from a starting point of four years having taken into account Price’s service to his country.

Two other officers, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bell, 46, and Warrant Officer Stuart Pankhurst, 40, were convicted of negligently performing a duty.

Col Bell lost one year’s seniority as a lieutenant colonel, while WO Pankhurst was fined £3,000.

'Disregard for safety'

Rgr Maguire, of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment, was one of several soldiers who came under machine gun fire during the incident.

Soldiers on one part of the range were firing directly at those in another part who, at about one kilometre away, would have been visible.

Rgr Maguire died after being struck by a stray bullet from a GPMG machine gun.

An inquest in 2013 found that the Irishman had been unlawfully killed.

Capt Price was accused of failing to set up and supervise a secure training exercise, having failed to attend a recce of the range when preparing a Range Action Safety Plan (RASP) and set targets too close together.

Col Bell and WO Pankhurst were involved in planning and supervising the training exercise.

The court martial had heard how the three officers “had a total disregard for the safety” of their men.