Gun drama on warship was ‘attention-seeking’

VESSEL HMS Edinburgh at Portsmouth
VESSEL HMS Edinburgh at Portsmouth

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A SAILOR accused of threatening a superior officer with an assault rifle says he was only attention-seeking and never intended to harm anyone.

Leading Seaman (Above Water Warfare) Kevin Moffat denies a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm at the trial at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The court martial heard the 45-year-old was worried about not being able to get home in time to see the birth of his child.

Prosecutors say Moffat took an SA80 rifle and three rounds of ammunition from a weapons store and went to the cabin of executive officer Lieutenant Commander Robert

Williams, while on board HMS Edinburgh.

Yesterday the court martial was read a transcript of an interview with Moffat.

In it, he said: ‘I apologised to Lt Cdr Williams and said I should never have done that.

‘I wasn’t threatening anyone or anything. I knew I’d mucked up.

‘I have been very stupid, I should never have done what I did. I was attention-seeking.

‘I never intended to hurt him or anything.’

The court martial also heard from several of Moffat’s colleagues who had spoken with him before the incident, which happened on September 28 last year.

At the time, Portsmouth-based HMS Edinburgh was berthed in Lisbon, Portugal.

Moffat had been crash-drafted on to the ship before its departure from the city, meaning he had been called to serve at short notice.

His wife was due to give birth in January of this year, and Moffat was under pressure to return home in time for the baby’s arrival.

He had become increasingly frustrated at not receiving a definitive date for his return to the UK.

The night before the incident, the 45-year-old sailor was out drinking at an Irish bar in Lisbon.

There he spoke to two colleagues about his urgency to return home, telling one: ‘I know how these things work, if I don’t get home then I am going to have to get a gun.’

To the other, he said: ‘I want off this ship. I have access to weapons and ammunition.’

Moffat says he was in possession of the gun and ammunition because he wanted to clean them.

The weapon was not loaded at the time of the incident.

(Proceeding)