Chippenham soldier died after drinking 16 shots in 45 minutes, inquest hears

Wiltshire Times: Buckley Barracks at Hullavington Buckley Barracks at Hullavington

Soldier Andrew Murgatroyd died of alcohol poisoning and inhaling his vomit after his army friend plied him with 16 shots of spirits in 45 minutes, an inquest heard.

The 21-year-old private, based at Buckley Barracks, in Hullavington, near Chippenham, downed a potent mixture of all eight spirits from the top shelf, and then did it a second time within the hour, leaving him almost three times over the drink drive limit.

His friend of four years Gary Wroe, who bought him the two ‘top shelf’ drinks from the army camp bar, said his intention had been “to get him drunk”, as was army tradition in a farewell do after his colleague was posted to Aldershot in Hampshire in February this year.

The inquest in Salisbury yesterday heard that Mr Murgatroyd fell unconscious in the bar and was driven by army staff on duty back to his Stanton St Quintin home, where his wife saw him turning blue. Mr Wroe, who had received refresher training in first aid a fortnight before, tried to resuscitate him with CPR.

Each round had contained a shot of Morgan’s Spiced, Southern Comfort, a whisky, Lambs rum, Bacardi, a vodka, Archers and Malibu.

Earlier in the night Mr Murgatroyd had drunk a pint and a quarter of lager with a meal in Chippenham, followed by between two and four cans of lager on returning to camp at about 9pm.

When asked by the coroner if Mr Murgatroyd had been put under pressure to drink, DC Tom Allen of Melksham CID said: “No. My understanding is that Andrew drank that out of his own freewill.”
Mr Wroe told the inquest: “It’s a tradition of the army to get your mate drunk before he gets posted.”

When asked if he had given any thought at the time to the consequences, he said: “It was just to get him drunk”.

He said he was not aware that mixtures of top shelf spirits were prohibited by standing orders.

But Major Timothy Parkes said staff were given regular briefings on the effects of drinking and “They were certainly aware of no top shelves”.

He said: “I can only say sorry to the family if they did something wrong. I’m not sure they did. I wish we could turn the clock back because it is such a waste. Certainly we’ve learned the lesson, issued a contract that in no circumstances will any top shelves be drunk in its bars, and we continue to educate our soldiers in the ways we already have.”

Assistant coroner Ian Singleton said there had been a “lack of appreciation of the combined effects”. Delivering a narrative verdict, he said: “This was a tragic and an unnecessary death at a time when Andrew was looking forward to a new posting.”

Comments (10)

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9:58am Wed 4 Dec 13

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

And these people are allowed guns !!!!
And these people are allowed guns !!!! sir roy.orbit of chippenham

10:17am Wed 4 Dec 13

FromTheWirral says...

Done military service have you?
Done military service have you? FromTheWirral

7:48am Thu 5 Dec 13

Mrs Donnyfly says...

FromTheWirral wrote:
Done military service have you?
What's that got to do with it?
[quote][p][bold]FromTheWirral[/bold] wrote: Done military service have you?[/p][/quote]What's that got to do with it? Mrs Donnyfly

10:16am Thu 5 Dec 13

FromTheWirral says...

Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns.

They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available.

Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored.

That's what it's got to do with it.

If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out.

All the best.
Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns. They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available. Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored. That's what it's got to do with it. If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out. All the best. FromTheWirral

4:06pm Thu 5 Dec 13

old 'arry says...

As a military veteran of 28 years service, now retired, I am afraid that this is not a unique case. Especially in Germany, where Army and RAF personnel can buy limitless duty-free drink, excessive and dangerous drinking was the norm in my days. Drinking a large glass of pure spirit for a bet or to look "big" led to more than one death, usually by falling asleep and drowning in vomit rather than pure alcoholic poisoning. I do not think that young soldiers are any worse than their civilian counterparts in UK; it is the whole of youth culture which has a huge problem.
As a military veteran of 28 years service, now retired, I am afraid that this is not a unique case. Especially in Germany, where Army and RAF personnel can buy limitless duty-free drink, excessive and dangerous drinking was the norm in my days. Drinking a large glass of pure spirit for a bet or to look "big" led to more than one death, usually by falling asleep and drowning in vomit rather than pure alcoholic poisoning. I do not think that young soldiers are any worse than their civilian counterparts in UK; it is the whole of youth culture which has a huge problem. old 'arry

4:17pm Thu 5 Dec 13

FromTheWirral says...

Agreed 'Arry, my first tour of Germany (RAF) basically involved heavy drinking every night, work hard - play hard was the ethos, tragic that this has happened but it's part and parcel of military life (well it was in my time) and it forged the forming of deep friendship and bonds that no civvy could really understand...
Agreed 'Arry, my first tour of Germany (RAF) basically involved heavy drinking every night, work hard - play hard was the ethos, tragic that this has happened but it's part and parcel of military life (well it was in my time) and it forged the forming of deep friendship and bonds that no civvy could really understand... FromTheWirral

5:05pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Mrs Donnyfly says...

FromTheWirral wrote:
Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns.

They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available.

Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored.

That's what it's got to do with it.

If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out.

All the best.
Thanks for the explanation. But you do know it wasn't me that said they're 'allowed' guns, don't you?
[quote][p][bold]FromTheWirral[/bold] wrote: Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns. They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available. Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored. That's what it's got to do with it. If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out. All the best.[/p][/quote]Thanks for the explanation. But you do know it wasn't me that said they're 'allowed' guns, don't you? Mrs Donnyfly

5:25pm Thu 5 Dec 13

FromTheWirral says...

Mrs Donnyfly wrote:
FromTheWirral wrote:
Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns.

They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available.

Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored.

That's what it's got to do with it.

If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out.

All the best.
Thanks for the explanation. But you do know it wasn't me that said they're 'allowed' guns, don't you?
Sorry, my rant wasn't aimed at that.
[quote][p][bold]Mrs Donnyfly[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]FromTheWirral[/bold] wrote: Well it would highlight the ignorance you're showing by saying they're 'allowed' guns. They are not allowed guns, they are trained to use, maintain and control a weapon safely and if they are placed in live theatre which facilitates the need for personnel to be armed with a weapon and live rounds, then this is closely monitored and supervised and all ammunition is accounted for at the end of the shift to ensure that no live rounds are available. Obviously if an engagement with an 'enemy' occurs and rounds are expended through engagment, further checks are carried out to ensure that all remaining live rounds are correctly and safely stored. That's what it's got to do with it. If you need any more **** flicking out from between your ears give me a nod and I'll straighten you out. All the best.[/p][/quote]Thanks for the explanation. But you do know it wasn't me that said they're 'allowed' guns, don't you?[/p][/quote]Sorry, my rant wasn't aimed at that. FromTheWirral

4:49pm Fri 6 Dec 13

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

And these drunken fools are allowed hand genades !!
And these drunken fools are allowed hand genades !! sir roy.orbit of chippenham

4:50pm Fri 6 Dec 13

sir roy.orbit of chippenham says...

grenades even.
grenades even. sir roy.orbit of chippenham

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