Wales

SAS selection deaths: Dad calls for Army staff action

SAS selection deaths Image copyright PA/MOD
Image caption Cpl James Dunsby, L/Cpl Edward Maher and L/Cpl Craig Roberts died in July 2013

Military staff responsible for failures on an SAS selection march in which three reservists died should be held accountable for their actions, one of the victim's father has said.

L/Cpl Edward Maher, L/Cpl Craig Roberts and Cpl James Dunsby died as a result of neglect on the 16-mile (26km) hike.

All suffered the effects of overheating during the Brecon Beacons march on one of 2013's hottest days.

David Dunsby said lessons must be learned from their deaths.

The inquest in Solihull, West Midlands, heard all three men would have survived if organisers had followed the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) code of practice and called off the exercise when two other men were withdrawn due to heat sickness shortly after midday.

Controversially, Army personnel told the coroner they were not aware of the contents of the MoD guidelines and had been told not to bother reading them.

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Media captionBrigadier John Donnelly said the Army accepted the risks were not managed carefully

Mr Dunsby said action should be taken against those responsible for the failings.

"Those guys all need to be come in to order and they need to face some accountability," he said.

"What form of punishment, I just don't know, I just know they have to be made accountable."

"It shouldn't end here. Three young lads died, one of them was my son, but at the end of the day it could have been probably a lot more... were the Army lucky? Yes they probably were."

"I'd like to think that whatever happened that day, the Army benefit from it because we don't want it [to] happen again," he added.

The Army accepted the risks of the July 2013 exercise were not managed carefully but said changes had been made.

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Media captionDavid Dunsby said those responsible for failings on the march should be held to account

On Wednesday, Prime Minister David Cameron "We now need to study the coroner's conclusions very, very carefully and make sure that this can't possibly happen again.

"And I know the Army will also hold its own service inquiry as soon as all the civil investigations have been completed. It's an absolutely tragic case and we will learn from it."

Delivering her inquest conclusion on Tuesday, coroner Louise Hunt said she had a "general concern" the MoD still did not have a clear plan and guidance for heat illness.

"I remain concerned about the completion of risk assessments and whether or not the culture within the organisation has changed," she said.

She will issue a Preventing Future Deaths report within 10 days, which could include recommendations for changes.

The MoD must respond to the report.

Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt said changes had been implemented since the men's deaths and the MoD would continue to work hard to ensure the code of practice is understood and followed.

Image caption The soldiers collapsed during the march while carrying 50lbs (22kg) of equipment

Failed attempts were made on the hills to save L/Cpl Roberts while L/Cpl Maher had already died by the time help arrived.

Cpl Dunsby, 31, of Bath, was found collapsed near the finish and died in hospital two weeks later.

The Health and Safety Executive is continuing its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the reservists' deaths.

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