Vernon Coaker MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to the conclusion of the inquest into the deaths of three Army reservists on an SAS test march in 2013, said:
“The Coroner’s conclusion that neglect played a part in the deaths of Lance Corporal Edward Maher, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and Corporal James Dunsby, who were taking part in a SAS test march in 2013, raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of Ministry of Defence procedures and their application on such exercises.
“The Coroner states that she does not believe that the MoD has a proper plan and guidance to deal with heat-related illness. This is unacceptable and a full review of how such exercises are organised needs to carried out immediately.
“Those who seek to meet the incredibly high standard set by our Special Forces are naturally driven and, in many cases, unwilling to countenance failure. The Coroner’s conclusion that had organisers strictly followed the MoD code of practice, the march should have been cancelled – following the withdrawal of two men from the exercise due to heat sickness – shows how important it is that MoD procedures for such exercises are overhauled without delay.
“The deaths of these three Army Reservists were a tragedy that should have been avoided. The Ministry of Defence needs to ensure that its guidance and their application addresses the concerns raised by the Coroner in this case straightaway.”