Page last updated at 20:46 GMT, Friday, 8 August 2008 21:46 UK

Legal bid over 'beasting' death

Pte Gavin Williams
Pte Gavin Williams suffered heatstroke while doing punishment exercises

The mother of a soldier who died after being made to carry out informal punishment exercises called "beastings" is taking legal advice over his death.

The Army has said it does "not allow or condone" the informal punishments and has promised a military police inquiry into the death of Pte Gavin Williams.

The 22-year-old from Hengoed, Rhymney Valley, collapsed at Lucknow barracks in Wiltshire in July 2006.

Three soldiers were last week cleared of his manslaughter.

Pte Williams, of the Second Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment, suffered heatstroke after being made to do exercises on one of the hottest days of the year for setting off a fire extinguisher.

Tests subsequently showed he had ecstasy in his body when he died.

A captain had ordered Pte Williams should be brought to him "hot and sweaty," not as a punishment but to ensure that he would not be in a position to be aggressive towards him.

Debra Williams
Debra Williams says she will continue to fight for justice for her son.

Debra Williams said she was "devastated" with the trial verdicts and would "continue fighting for justice".

She said if she can save one soldier by campaigning to stop the practice, then her son will not have died in vain.

She said: "It's still very hard to accept that Gavin's not here. The plans are to make sure that this doesn't happen again.

"We are going down a few avenues at the moment with my lawyers. It's got to be started now with Gavin's death, because it's gone on too long.

"I'm really angry because he's lost his life for nothing. They've let him down, they've let me down, they've let his sister down. All the family are devastated."


The Royal Military Police is to investigate Pte Williams's death to see whether there were any breaches of military law.

An MoD spokesman has said: "The Army does not allow or condone any form of physical activity to be used for disciplinary purposes.

"Commanding officers are made fully aware of their responsibility to protect their soldiers from all forms of physical and mental harassment or intimidation, and any suspicion of bullying is dealt with immediately.

"These principles are reinforced throughout all military training."

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16 Jul 08 |  Wiltshire

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