Court martial finds army officer guilty of manslaughter following death of soldier preparing for deployment in Kenya

Ranger Michael Maguire
Ranger Michael Maguire died after being shot in the head in May 2012.

A British army officer has been convicted over the killing of a soldier who was shot during a live firing exercise prior to his planned deployment in Kenya.

The court martial lasting seven weeks found 32-year-old Captain Jonathan Price, who was a lieutenant at the time of the incident, guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence following the death of 21-year–old Ranger Michael Maguire, who died after being hit in the forehead by a stray bullet during a training exercise at Castlemartin Training Area, Pembrokeshire, in May 2012.

Ranger Maguire, from Co Cork, Ireland was a member of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment at the time of his death.

Two other officers, 45-year-old Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Bell, and 40-year-old Warrant Officer Stuart Pankhurst were convicted of negligently performing their duty.

The seven senior officers who made up the court martial board heard how the men were accused of having “a total disregard for the safety” of their men when they organised the live ammunition training prior to their deployment to Kenya.

According to one witness, following the shooting Captain Price said to him: “I’ve messed up haven’t I?” The court also heard that Captain Price, now of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, failed to attend a reconnoitre of the site when preparing a range action safety plan.

The three men are due to be sentenced on July 24.

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