Jury to attend military diver’s inquest

LCpl Partridge

DIVING NEWS

A jury will be called to hear how a British soldier came to die on a military diving course at the National Diving & Activity Centre, Gloucestershire’s Senior Coroner has confirmed.

At a second pre-inquest review, Coroner Katy Skerrett said that the jury would sit over five days between next March and May to hear evidence into the death of Lance-Corporal George Partridge, according to a report in the Morning Star. The incident, which occurred in the last week of a seven-week Army Diver Class 2 course on 26 March last year, was reported on Divernet.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, the possibility that the Ministry of Defence breached its duty of care to the 27-year-old soldier requires a jury sitting. At the review, the Coroner ordered the MoD to fully disclose within 28 days six bundles of evidence that it was said to hold.

LCpl Partridge, from Ilminster in Somerset, served with 26 Engineer Regiment based in Perham Down, Wiltshire. He had been in the Army for eight years, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2012.

Sudden cardiac death syndrome was blamed for his death following a post mortem examination that concluded that the soldier, who had been declared “fittest recruit” during his basic training, had an undiagnosed minor heart defect.

At the first pre-inquest review a year ago, LCpl Partridge’s family blamed his death on “systematic failures”.

A Royal Navy service inquiry panel has already published a detailed report in which it states that the victim was using faulty diving equipment, criticises the course and makes 53 recommendations on remedial action.

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