Gavin Williams inquest: Army staff 'lied' about beastings

Pte Gavin Williams Image copyright PA
Image caption Pte Gavin Williams was serving with the Second Battalion of the Royal Welsh Regiment

A former Army corporal has said former colleagues lied about using unofficial physical punishments on soldiers.

John Edwards told the inquest of Gavin Williams, 22, from Hengoed, Caerphilly county, he was unaware disciplinary rules had changed when he carried out part of the young soldier's beasting.

Pte Williams died from heart failure at Lucknow Barracks in Tidworth, Wiltshire, on 3 July 2006.

Cpl Edwards said he questioned the extent of Pte Williams's punishment.

He told the inquest in Salisbury, Wiltshire, he had followed orders to march Pte Williams until he was "panting like a dog" as punishment for disobedience and a series of drunken incidents.

The inquest was told that in January 2005, new disciplinary rules, known as AGAI 67, were brought in by the Army.

Coroner Alan Large said using physical drills as a punishment was not within the AGAI rules, but Cpl Edwards said he was not aware of that at the time.

He asked Cpl Edwards what he thought about claims from higher ranking Army personnel that physical drills were not being used as punishment at the time.

"I would say certain people within that area are lying," he replied.

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

Mr Large said: "Are you able to recall either of those regimental sergeant majors giving you direct orders after January 2005 to carry out these quick sharp unofficial punishments?"

"Yes sir," he said, but could not provide an example when asked.

Cpl Edwards said he followed orders to march Pte Williams until he was "panting like a dog" but planned not to be out long because it was a very hot day and it "would not be fair".

After writing letter of apology for his drunken behaviour, Pte Williams was told to do further physical training (PT) sessions by Sgt Russell Price.

Cpl Edwards said he queried Sgt Price's order, asking: "are you sure", but Pte Williams was still taken to the gym.

He said it was not his decision to order Pte Williams to carry out a second round of exercise.

"I'm not a monster," he said.

Cpl Edwards, Sgt Price and Sgt Paul Blake were cleared of manslaughter at Winchester Crown Court in 2008.

The hearing continues.

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