Sailor jailed over gun threat made on board warship

CRIME SCENE HMS Edinburgh
CRIME SCENE HMS Edinburgh
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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A SAILOR who threatened a senior officer with an assault rifle on board HMS Edinburgh has been jailed for three years.

Leading Seaman (Above Water Warfare) Kevin Moffat, from Gosport, was dismissed from the Royal Navy and sentenced to jail yesterday after being found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm.

He had threatened the executive officer of the Portsmouth-based destroyer while the ship was alongside in Portugal on a six-month deployment.

The 45-year-old had been under ‘considerable domestic pressure’ to get off the ship and return home in time for the birth of his daughter, the court heard.

Sentencing Moffat yesterday at the military court martial centre in Bulford, Wiltshire, Judge Advocate Robert Hill said: ‘This was conduct that plainly crosses a forbidden line.

‘It strikes the very core of naval discipline.

‘You had considerable domestic pressure placed on you to both return home to the UK for the birth and to be able to confirm a date when you would be returning.

‘It was very short-lived and you came to bitterly regret what you had done.

‘This was completely out of character, a once-in-a-lifetime moment of complete madness and you have the benefit of good character.’

As reported in The News, Moffat was drafted onto the deployment at short notice, and his wife was due to give birth while the ship was away.

Five years earlier, while he was deployed on the same ship, Moffat’s partner had given birth before he could return home and there had been medical complications.

The court martial heard the father-of-three was agitated about the possibility of being at sea during another birth and was distressed when no definitive answer was given about when he could return home.

A psychological report said Moffat was suffering from a temporary adjustment disorder because of his anxiety to get back to Gosport.

On September 28 last year, four months before his wife was due to give birth, Moffat took an SA80 assault rifle and three rounds of ammunition from weapons lockers on board the ship.

He then went to the cabin of the ship’s executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Robert Williams.

Judge Advocate Hill added that although the incident comes not long after the shooting on board submarine HMS Astute, Moffat’s sentence was not influenced by the event.