Death treated as an accident

AN RAF serviceman fatally shot in the back during a training exercise was named yesterday by Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials.Corporal Christopher Strickleton, 30, was shot by mistake at a military training camp in West Tofts, near Thetford, on Wednesday .

AN RAF serviceman fatally shot in the back during a training exercise was named yesterday by Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials.

Corporal Christopher Strickleton, 30, was shot by mistake at a military training camp in West Tofts, near Thetford, on Wednesday .

The incident, which has been described as a “tragic accident,” happened during an exercise using live ammunition on the Great Carr firing range on the Stanford Training Area (Stanta).

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Cpl Strickleton, who served with the Three Squadron RAF Regiment at Aldergrove, Northern Ireland, following the incident shortly after 10.30am, but he was declared dead at the scene.


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Speaking yesterday , Stanta's commanding officer, Lt Col Keith Kiddie, said a full investigation would be held into the incident, to establish if any lessons could be learned from the tragedy.

“There is a process and set procedure to find out what happened and if it was possible to avoid,” he added. “At this stage it seems to be a terrible accident.”

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The East Anglian Air Ambulance, a road ambulance and a doctor were all called to the camp shortly after 11am following reports a man had suffered serious gunshot wounds to his back.

“Despite our best efforts to resuscitate the man, he was unfortunately declared dead at the scene by the doctor,” said an ambulance service spokesman.

It is thought Cpl Strickleton was then driven to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at Colney.

On Wednesday night, officials from the MoD and Norfolk Police were beginning investigations at the training ground, which is used by 70,000 personnel from the army, navy and air force each year.

Once the joint investigation is complete, the two bodies will hand a full file to the coroner and an inquest will be held.

The training ground where the incident happened, on the edge of Thetford Forest, covers 30,000 acres of woodland, heaths, pine forest, lakes, marshes and rivers. It stretches for 35 square miles, and is one of 12 army training estates across the UK.

Stanta is used for exercises using both live and non-firing ammunition for 350 days each year, and for troops in the eastern counties is the only substantial ground of its type within easy reach.

There are 11 firing ranges at the site, with facilities ranging from individual shooting to advanced field firing exercises with mortars, artillery and ground attack aircraft in support.

Modern optical equipment at Stanta allows nighttime training – including that with live ammunition – to take place during most of the year.

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