Wales

Gavin Williams inquest: Soldier 'shook' during beasting

Pte Gavin Williams Image copyright PA

A soldier who died after being subjected to a beasting complained of stomach ache and shaking hands while being punished, an inquest has heard.

Pte Gavin Williams, 22, from Hengoed, Caerphilly county, suffered heart failure at Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth, Wiltshire, on 3 July 2006.

He had been punished for disobedience and a number of drunken incidents.

When admitted to hospital, his body temperature was 41.7C (107F), way above the norm of 37C (98.6F).

Tests later showed he had ecstasy in his body when he died.

Three non-commissioned officers, Sgt Russell Price, Sgt Paul Blake and Cpl John Edwards, who carried out the punishment, were cleared of manslaughter at Winchester Crown Court in 2008.

In a statement read to the inquest in Salisbury, Wiltshire, physical training instructor L/Cpl Gregory Thomas, who was second in command of the gym, said Pte Williams was marched over to him where Sgt Price asked Sgt Blake if they could have him "for a while".

Image caption Sgt Paul Blake, Sgt Russell Price and Cpl John Edwards were cleared of manslaughter

The hearing was told Pte Williams complained of a stomach ache and could not carry out the squat thrusts Sgt Blake ordered him to do.

L/Cpl Tomas said: "Sgt Blake told him to get a glass of water and sort himself out."

He added he did not notice any signs of dehydration, but saw as he was drinking "his hand was shaking as he spilt the water".

"Because of this Blake said he would take him to the medical centre," he added.

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Media captionPte Gavin Williams was serving with the Second Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment

L/Cpl Craig Silcox found Pte Williams with a hangover in his room after a drunken weekend, but did not have concerns about the way he was treated.

He said he was aware of "unofficial" physical punishments being used within his platoon, but only for repeat offenders who "kept doing the same things over and over".

Pte Shaun Fitzgerald told the hearing Pte Williams collapsed twice while walking to a medical centre.

He claimed Pte Williams said words to the effect of "I've been taking drugs and I feel dizzy and faint".

Once at the medical centre, Pte Williams had to be restrained after becoming aggressive towards another colleague, said Pte Fitzgerald.

He described Pte Williams as being calm and splashing water over his face before "kicking off" several times.

The inquest continues.

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