Hullavington soldier died after drinking 16 shots at farewell party

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Young soldier died after drinking 16 shots at farewell party Young soldier died after drinking 16 shots at farewell party

THE Wiltshire Coroner is to write to the Defence Secretary with concerns about the army’s drinking culture following the death of a soldier at Buckley Barracks who downed 16 shots in a short space of time.

An inquest in Salisbury this week heard Pt Andrew Murgatroyd, who was not a regular drinker, died from alcohol poisoning and choking on his own vomit after being given two trays of “top shelf” spirits during his leaving party in February.

The hearing was told by one of his friends that it was army tradition to get a colleague drunk at their send off. Eight shots of spirits – vodka, whisky, rum, spiced rum, Southern Comfort, Bacardi, Archers and Malibu were poured into a tumbler and downed by the 21-year-old twice in an hour.

Pt Murgatroyd, who had been posted to Aldershot, was also made to stand on a chair and drink two cans of lager collapsed in the junior mess and was driven home where his wife Shawni noticed he was turning blue.

His friends tried CPR, but he was pronounced dead by paramedics. A pathologist later found he was almost four times the drink drive limit.

Maj Timothy Parkes said “top shelves” had been frowned on for the past 25 years, but the bar operators said they had not been told the tradition was banned.

Recording a narrative verdict Coroner Ian Singleton said: 'I am concerned that a culture appears to exist to ply someone with alcohol and I am concerned that culture is not isolated to Buckley Barracks.”

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