Devon

Coroner's training call after RAF man killed by armoured vehicle

  • 26 June 2014
  • From the section Devon
Kinikki Griffiths
Image caption Airman Kinikki Griffith was crushed under the wheels of a Jackal truck

A serviceman died in Afghanistan after being crushed by an armoured vehicle with defective brakes operated by an unqualified driver, a coroner ruled.

RAF Senior Aircraftman Kinikki Griffiths, 20, from Devon, died when he was crushed by a Jackal vehicle in Helmand Province on 16 July 2010.

Coroner Elizabeth Earland said it had been a "highly emotional case".

She added she would write to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), asking it to review training methods for drivers.

The hearing, at County Hall in Exeter, was previously told SAC Griffiths, from Exmouth, and another colleague had gone under the six-and-a-half-tonne vehicle to check on a fluid leak.

Cpl William Wortley, who was at the wheel, said he had put the handbrake on with the engine running but "moments later" the vehicle rolled forward.

Image caption The Jackal - similar to the one pictured - had a fluid leak, the inquest heard

SAC Griffiths was trapped but his colleague escaped.

The inquest heard that Cpl Wortley, who was in charge of the vehicle's machine gun, did not have a full driving licence and should not have been driving.

Group Capt Scott Miller told the inquest Cpl Wortley had been "acting outside the course of his authorised activities" and the service was trying to put a stop to a "culture of turning a blind eye to transgressions of the rules".

In a narrative verdict, Dr Earland said the danger of brake failure had not been fully appreciated given that Cpl Wortley's lack of driver training had been highlighted during the hearing.

However, she said she would be writing to the MoD to ask it to review training methods for commanders, drivers and maintenance staff.

SAC Griffiths joined the RAF as a gunner and was posted to No 1 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment.

He had been in Afghanistan for 10 weeks and was just days away from celebrating his 21st birthday when he was killed.

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