Coroner finds that failures in communication contributed to soldier's death

Friday 28 June 2013

Following a five-day inquest, a coroner sitting at Preston has found that confused orders and failures in communication meant that opportunities were missed to save the life of a young soldier.

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Steven Murray, aged 23, was a new soldier in training at Catterick. He attended a training weekend at Halton. During one evening he suffered a severe head injury following a playfight with a fellow recruit. This subsequently led to his death. During the course of the evening no medical assistance was summoned. The Coroner found that there were a number of confusing and contradictory orders relating to medical care and that, further, certain soldiers had failed to escalate the issue up the chain of command. He returned a narrative verdict finding that:

"the principal contributing factors to [Steven's] death were inadequacy of orders as to the sources and provision of medical care, insufficient communication by the NCOs of a loss of consciousness when escalating matters up the chain of command and of failure of recruits to escalate developments ... up the chain of command."

The case has been reported in various media, including by the BBC and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Steven's family was represented by Rajeev Thacker, instructed by Daniel Carey of Public Interest Lawyers. Rajeev Thacker is a member of the Garden Court Inquests Team.

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