Tourists 'put at risk' of machine gun fire at Welsh beach

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Tourists 'put at risk' of machine gun fire at Welsh beach
Tourists 'put at risk' of machine gun fire at Welsh beach

A tourist beach at a popular seaside resort in Wales could have been sprayed with machine gun fire during a training exercise in which an Army ranger was shot dead.

An inquest into the death of Michael Maguire at a range in west Wales this week heard that gun fire was directed towards Freshwater West Beach, near Tenby, reports the Express.

The beach, particularly popular with surfers, is less than one and a half miles along the coast from Castlemartin Ranges, where the Army trains recruits.

On the day Mr Maguire, 21, was accidentally shot and killed after a single machine gun bullet hit his temple, civilians were at risk of being shot, too.

Ranger Maguire, originally from County Cork, Ireland, was a member of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment. He was standing in a designated safe haven beyond where live fire training was taking place having just finished an exercise himself.

The jury in Cardiff heard how soldiers shoot out to sea within specific map co-ordinates that restrict firing to a narrow channel.

Captain Gary Palmer, an Army weapons expert, investigated the tragedy alongside police. He said that soldiers under the command of Lieutenant Jonathan Price had shot outside the safe areas specified.

Ranger Maguire had been relaxing without his helmet and armour on about 0.6 miles away. The inquest heard how the beach, 1.6 miles north west of where the machine gun was, also fell within the potentially deadly area.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Captain Palmer added that the "full weapon danger area" for the machine gun was 1.8 miles.

The newspaper adds that the Visit Pembrokeshire website describes the beach as a "surfers' paradise", adding that is is so picturesque it has been used as a backdrop in two recent films, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

The inquest is set to run for three weeks.

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