Inquest opens into death of submarine officer

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A ROYAL Navy officer was shot in the head as he tried to tackle a junior rating who went on a murderous rampage on board a submarine, an inquest has heard.

Forensic experts say Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, from Wigan, would have fallen unconscious immediately after he suffered the gunshot wound on board HMS Astute while it was docked in Southampton in April last year.

As reported in The News, Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, 23, was jailed for life last year after pleading guilty at Winchester Crown Court to the murder of Lt Cdr Molyneux.

Home office pathologist Dr Basil Purdue said at the inquest yesterday: ‘It would have caused instantaneous unconsciousness followed very shortly by death.

‘The lieutenant commander would have known nothing about it.

‘As soon as he received the wound he would have been out of it completely.’

Donovan also pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge, Petty Officer Christopher Brown and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy.

He had been drinking while ashore and volunteered for guard duty when on board, because he wanted to kill the two petty officers who had reported him for disobeying a direct order to clean a part of the nuclear-powered sub.

The inquest, which is being heard by a jury, is expected to last for two weeks at Southampton Coroner’s Court.