Coroner questions claims officers did not know of ‘beasting’ that led to soldier’s death


Danny Friedman QC acted for the family of Gavin Williams in an inquest that held that the deceased was killed after being subjected to an unofficial punishment that was part of a system of punishments knowingly being operated within the two Royal Welsh regiment in 2006. The Coroner returned the following narrative verdict.

‘Gavin died as a result of imposition of unofficial physical punishment in the form of marching drill and physical exercise conducted on a very hot day. This punishment was part of a system of such unofficial punishments operating in the Battalion which the chain of command had failed to identify or prevent. The exertion from the marching drill and the physical exercise, combined with the effects of Gavin’s recent use of ecstasy, led to the onset of hyperthermia. Gavin’s symptoms of hyperthermia included involuntary aggressive behaviour, as a result of which he was restrained. The effect of Gavin’s struggle against this restraint further contributed to the hyperthermia. Gavin was taken to Salisbury District Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 16.26 on 3 July 2006.’

Danny was instructed by Raju Bhatt of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and led Alex Gask of Doughty Street Chambers.