SAS selection deaths: Manslaughter probe dropped by CPS

Cpl James Dunsby, L/Cpl Edward Maher and L/Cpl Craig Roberts Cpl James Dunsby, L/Cpl Edward Maher and L/Cpl Craig Roberts took part in the exercise last year

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No manslaughter charges are to be brought over the deaths of three soldiers from overheating on a training exercise in the Brecon Beacons.

L/Cpl Craig Roberts, 24, of Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, and L/Cpl Edward Maher, 31, died from hyperthermia on 13 July 2013.

Cpl James Dunsby, from Bath, died two weeks later in hospital.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) considered evidence files on two people who were questioned on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

In a statement, it said the criminal investigation will continue with primary responsibility now passing to the Health and Safety Executive.

Catrin Evans, head of CPS Wales Complex Casework Unit, said: "To establish an offence of gross negligence manslaughter, the prosecution would have to be able to show that the suspects owed a duty of care to the victims - that this duty of care was breached, that this breach was an operative cause of death - and that the conduct of the suspects was so negligent that it ought to be characterised as a crime.

Start Quote

Our sincere sympathies remain with the families of the three soldiers who tragically lost their lives”

End Quote Catrin Evans CPS Wales Complex Casework Unit
Selection course

"Having considered a large amount of detailed evidential material, including reports provided by expert witnesses, my review concluded that the evidence available does not meet the required legal standard for prosecution.

"Our sincere sympathies remain with the families of the three soldiers who tragically lost their lives last July."

She said the CPS had written to the men's families to explain the decision and to offer a meeting with lawyers to discuss the decision in more detail.

Last month, a pre-inquest hearing in Solihull, West Midlands, was told the soldiers suffered hyperthermia, which occurs when the body's temperature rises substantially above what is considered normal.

Cpl Dunsby's death was also as a result of multi-organ failure following the 40-mile (64km) hike when temperatures reached 29.5C (85F), coroner Louise Hunt said.

The soldiers were among six men rescued from the mountain during the exercise, which had been part of a four-week trial for the Territorial Army's SAS reservists.

A full inquest is expected to be held later this year.

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