THE details of how a hero sailor was killed in a shooting on a nuclear submarine docked in Southampton will be heard today.
Atwo-week inquest into the death of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux on board HMS Astute last April will be held at Southampton Coroner’s Court.
The 36-year-old father-of-four this year posthumously received the George Medal – the second highest civilian award for gallantry, belowthe George Cross.
As reported, he was killed when he ignored the obvious risk to his own safety as he tried to stop Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, who had begun shooting a semiautomatic rifle on board the submarine while it was on a formal visit to Southampton.
The officer, with 20 years of experience in the Navy, was shot in the side of the head at point blank range as he rushed towards the gunman, who had been acting as sentry on the vessel.
Donovan was eventually overpowered by the then leader of Southampton City Council Royston Smith and chief executive Alistair Neill, who had been on a civic tour of the submarine.
In September last year, Donovan was sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars after admitting the murder of Lt-Cdr Molyneux, and the attempted murder of two other officers.
Winchester Crown Court heard Donovan was as an “immature” fan of violent computer games and gangster rap who failed to cope with the stresses of cramped submarine life.
Despite spending four years in the Royal Navy, the then-22- year-old able seaman was said to have struggled to deal with the strict authority of the armed services and resented those he believed had unfairly targeted him.
Under the nickname “Reggie Moondog”, Donovan, from Dartford, Kent, wrote rap songs with lyrics about guns and killing, including a reference to the SA80 rifle he was to later use on his murderous rampage.
The court heard Donovan had repeatedly spoken of his desire to kill, and just hours before his terrifying gun frenzy he told a colleague he would shoot someone that day – advising him to “watch the news” later.
Donovan was said to suffer no mental illness, and far from being a crazed loner, was popular with many friends, relatives and colleagues, but saw “no way out”
of his predicament.
Angry at missing out on a draft to another ship after getting into trouble and facing military imprisonment for refusing orders over cleaning duty, he decided to kill the officers he held responsible.
He waited two days for the chance to murder Petty Officer Christopher Brown and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, after which he planned to turn the gun on himself.
But his revenge mission failed when his shots missed the officers, and courageous Lt-Cdr Molyneux, from Wigan, Lancashire, made his fatal intervention.