England

Otterburn military camp sees 119 accidents in a year

Private Conor McPherson Image copyright Ministry of Defence
Image caption Pte Conor McPherson was training in Otterburn, Northumberland when he was shot in the head

A training camp where a soldier was accidentally killed last month had 119 other accidents causing injury last year, Ministry of Defence figures show.

Pte Conor McPherson, 24, from Paisley, Renfrewshire, was shot during night live-firing training in Otterburn, Northumberland.

Berwick Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan said she was "deeply concerned" by the number of injuries.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said "reporting of injuries is improving".

More exercises were also taking place at the site, he said.

The 2015-16 figure is more than double each of the previous two year's totals, 54 and 58 respectively.

There were 18 injuries recorded in 2011-12.

Mr Lancaster admitted the latest figures "may not include all injuries, as some minor injuries may have been treated immediately and not reported".

Image copyright Magnum Photos
Image caption Otterburn Training Area was set up by former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill

Ms Trevelyan, who has Otterburn in her constituency, uncovered the figures via a written question to the department.

"Following the tragic death of a soldier during a live firing exercise last month, I was concerned to find out whether we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our armed forces when they are training on the Otterburn Ranges," she said.

Pte McPherson, from The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, died from a "serious head wound".

Otterburn Training Area is the second largest live firing range in the country and has been used for military training since 1911.

In April the Unite union warned that firing ranges had become "death traps" since the role of lookout wardens, who prevent people walking into the line of fire, had been withdrawn.

The MoD said the Defence Safety Authority was investigating Pte McPherson's death.

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