Army criticised at inquest into 'beasting' soldier's heatstroke death


The Army chain of command "failed to identify" the use of unofficial punishments known as "beastings", a coroner has found as he concluded the inquest into the death of a young recruit.

Assistant Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner Alan Large said Private Gavin Williams, 22, died from heatstroke after being subjected to the beasting on one of the hottest days of the year.

He returned a narrative conclusion after hearing from more than 100 witnesses at Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner's Court in Salisbury.

The young recruit had been subjected to an informal session of intense physical exercise - known as a beasting - by three non-commissioned officers to punish him for disobedience and a series of drunken incidents.

Pte Williams, of the Second Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment, collapsed on July 3 2006, one of the hottest days of the year.

The soldier, from Hengoed in South Wales, was later admitted to hospital where his body temperature was 41.7C (107F) - way above the norm of 37C (98.6F). Tests later showed he had ecstasy in his body when he died.

Sergeant Russell Price, the Provost Sergeant in charge of discipline, and two colleagues - physical training instructor Sergeant Paul Blake and Provost Corporal Edwards - were cleared of manslaughter in 2008.