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Coroner backs alcohol test call for Navy

A CORONER said he would recommend random breath testing for Royal Navy personnel following the shooting of an officer by a drunk naval rating on a nuclear submarine.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman told the end of the inquest into the death of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux that he would write to the Navy with 18 areas it should look at.

Lt Cdr Molyneux was shot by Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, who was at least three times the drink-drive limit and on guard duty on HMS Astute in April 2011 with the SA80 rifle.

At the time, sailors were allowed 10 units in the previous 24 hours with no alcohol in the 10 hours before duty, which has now been changed to five units.

Mr Wiseman said it would never be known why the attack took place.

He said he would incorporate recommendations from Lt Cdr Molyneux's widow Gillian, which included random breath testing; the use of a breathalyser for all those going on armed sentry duty; a look at alcohol allowances while onboard ships and submarines; and work to tackle the culture of binge drinking in the navy.

Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner said the officer was unlawfully killed and he will now write to the navy citing the issues under a Rule 43 letter.

Donovan, 23, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years after pleading guilty at Winchester Crown Court to murder.

After the hearing, Mrs Molyneux said she was "heartened" her recommendations would be sent to the navy and she wanted them, and those of two naval inquiries, acted upon.

The Royal Navy said: "We will publish the inquiries and will also consider the recommendations made by the coroner."

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