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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 15:30 GMT
Army 'cannot detain drunk troops'
The Royal Citadel at Plymouth
Mr Walmsley was found dead in his room at the barracks
The army is not directly responsible for dealing with soldiers who get drunk, an inquest has heard.

Bombardier Steven Walmsley, 28, from Wigan, Greater Manchester, died on the floor of his room in the barracks in Plymouth after a night out.

Regimental Provost Sergeant Carl Veti said that since the Human Rights Act, the army could not detain a drunken soldier unless he committed an offence.

Mr Walmsley died from the effects of alcohol and the painkiller Oxycodone.

He was found dead in his room at Citadel barracks, by his girlfriend, after celebrating his promotion.

The inquest in Plymouth has heard that Mr Walmsley had been "very drunk".

Not breathing

Mr Walmsley was serving with the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

The inquest heard that other soldiers moved him to the floor of his room when he was found asleep in a corridor.

He was checked twice and found to be conscious, before his girlfriend raised the alarm after discovering he was not breathing.

Sergeant Veti said in a statement read to the inquest on Wednesday, that since the Human Rights Act, if a soldier returned drunk they had no power to detain him unless he committed an offence.

Individual adults

Placing him in a cell to sober up was contrary to the Act, he said.

Mr Veti said soldiers were now treated as individual adults with responsibility for themselves.

He said he was happy with the way Mr Walmsley was dealt with when he returned to the barracks in the early hours of 20 December last year.

The inquest continues.

Dead solider 'had been drinking'
02 Nov 04  |  Manchester
Soldier found dead at barracks
23 Dec 03  |  Devon

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