SAS selection training deaths coroner warns of MoD investigation

Ed Maher Edward Maher died on 13 July in the Brecon Beacons

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A coroner examining the deaths of two soldiers during SAS selection training warned that the Ministry of Defence could face investigation under the Human Rights Act.

Edward Maher, 31, and Craig Roberts, 24, collapsed in soaring temperatures while on the training regime on the Brecon Beacons.

The cause remains "unascertained".

Powys coroner Louise Hunt said "right to life" will play an important part in the inquest.

"The state has a duty to protect an individual's life," she said.

"The importance of looking into the wider circumstances of these deaths is that Article Two of the Human Rights Act will come into play.

"Any verdict must incorporate failings if any are identified."

Before adjourning proceedings, she said a full inquest would examine all the circumstances leading up to the deaths and examine any failings.

Ms Hunt also said her investigation was not a "normal" inquest and any future verdict given must be independent and have the full involvement of both victims' families.

"I would also like to place on record my deepest condolences to both families," she added.

The inquest in Brecon heard the men died on 13 July as temperatures hit 29.5C.

L/Cpl Craig Roberts Craig Roberts had served with the TA for more than five years

They had been among six men rescued from the mountain. A third soldier remains in a serious condition.

Giving evidence at the inquest at Brecon Law Courts, Dyfed-Powys Powys Det Insp Ieuan Wyn Jones said L/Cpl Roberts had been pronounced dead on the mountain at 17:15 BST.

Almost three hours later, Mr Maher died at Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.

"Post mortems have been carried out and the causes of death are unascertained," he added.

"Further investigations are being carried out."

Witnesses on the day described coming across two soldiers "clearly in distress" who pleaded with them for some drinking water.

The pair were understood to be taking part in the aptitude training element of the course to become SAS reservists.

L/Cpl Roberts, 24, of Penrhyn Bay, had served with the Territorial Army for around five years and is understood to have served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A MoD statement read: "We can confirm that the coroner (Bridgend, Glamorgan Valleys and Powys) opened and adjourned an inquest into the deaths of two army reserve soldiers who died during a routine training exercise.

"As this is an ongoing investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police it would be inappropriate to comment further until this process is concluded.

"Our thoughts remain with the friends and families of the soldiers at this difficult time."

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