Iraq soldier who shot 'best friend' while 'playing around' is jailed

image source, MoD
image captionLance Corporal Scott Hetherington died from a single shot his chest

A soldier who shot and killed his best friend in a "terrible accident" in Iraq has been jailed for three years.

L/Cpl Colin Theaker fired a single shot at Scott Hetherington while "playing around" with a service pistol.

The victim, of Middleton, Greater Manchester, died from a single shot to his chest, a court martial heard.

Theaker, who served with the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, admitted manslaughter by gross negligence last month.

He was sentenced on Friday following a court martial at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed he had also been dismissed from service.

The accident happened at Camp Taji in Iraq on 2nd January, 2017, when the pair, whose relationship was described as "brotherly", had both been "playing around" with their service pistols while cleaning them.

image captionScott Hetherington was given a funeral with full military honours

In the process, Theaker had unwittingly made his weapon ready and a round was in the chamber when he pulled the trigger, the court heard.

The friends had been helping to train local soldiers to fight Islamic State militants, and shared accommodation.

L/Cpl Hetherington, a 22-year-old father-of-one, was given a funeral with full military honours in his home town three weeks after the shooting.

At the time of his death, he had a three-month old baby daughter Safaya-Rose and was a vehicle commander in the Force Protection Platoon.

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