A young Scots soldier tragically died from a head injury after being shot through his helmet during a live-fire training exercise in Northumberland.
Private Conor McPherson, from Paisley, was taking part in a night time training practice at Otterburn Training Area, in August 2016 when he was shot by another soldier.
An inquest at Northumberland Coroner’s Court heard the 24-year-old, who was serving with A Company, 3 Scots – The Black Watch – was one of five soldiers taking part in the drill.
The court heard the group was moving toward a target at the training ground when a gun was fired and Pvt McPherson fell to the ground, Chronicle Live reports. Despite attempts to save him, Pvt McPherson was pronounced dead at the scene.
Doctor Jennifer Bolton, who carried out the post-mortem examination, said the bullet came through his helmet. She added: “He had one significant injury, a gun shot entrance wound to the right side of the head.
“He died as a result of head injury that came from a gun shot wound to the head. The head injury caused him to become instantly unconscious. He would not have been aware of it. He would not have felt anything of it.
“The second that injury was inflicted there was nothing that could been done to change the outcome.” Dr Bolton said samples were taken for a toxicology report, which is carried out on everybody, and nothing was found in his system.
The post mortem examination concluded the cause of death as a head injury. The court heard the Battalion had travelled from Inverness to take part in the training exercise at the range.
Pvt McPherson was one of five soldiers taking part in the exercise where they had to move towards rigid targets. The court heard the targets did not have any thermal tape added to them ahead of the exercise, and Pvt McPherson was wearing different night vision goggles to the rest of the team.
Jurors were also told a Range Action Safety Plan had been carried out ahead of the training exercise but was sent back because it was not sufficient.
The senior planning officer for exercise told the court it was believed to be due to an issue with sketch maps and it was “quite normal” for range control to send them back. The inquest continues.
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