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Inquest into Challenger 2 Tank Explosion Deaths Set To Resume

Severely Injured Soldiers Want Lessons To Be Learned

29.06.2018

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

An inquest is due to resume on Monday (2 July, 2018) into the deaths of two soldiers killed when a Challenger 2 Tank exploded following a training exercise.

Corporals Matthew Hatfield and Darren Neilson of the Royal Tank Regiment died after being injured when a tank exploded at the Castlemartin range in Pembrokeshire, South-west Wales, on 14 June, 2017.

WO2 Stuart Lawson was also in the tank at the time and although he survived the blast he suffered severe burns and other significant life changing injuries. He has instructed specialist military injuries lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help support him through the inquest process and investigate the incident.  Trooper Michael Warren, the tank driver, is also being supported by Irwin Mitchell.

Andrew Buckham, is the Partner and expert military injuries lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office who is representing Stuart, 39, from Southampton, and Michael, 33, of Preston.

Expert Opinion
This was a tragic incident in which two soldiers sadly lost their lives and two others were severely injured during a training exercise. Stuart has been left suffering with serious burns and injuries and will likely need treatment for the rest of this life.

“The incident has had a profound effect on both Stuart and Michael and they are devastated at the loss of two colleagues. It’s now imperative that we understand exactly what caused this incident and the sad loss of lives so that lessons can be learned to reduce the risk of similar problems in future.”
Andrew Buckham, Partner

The inquest in the council chambers at Solihull Council House is due to resume at 10am on Monday, 2 July, and is listed to last for three weeks.

Cpl Neilson was the tank commander and was believed to have been in the turret at the time of the blast, the hearing had previously been told. Cpl Hatfield was loading practice ammunition.

The court had previously heard that the provisional cause of death for Cpl Hatfield, 27, from Amesbury, Wiltshire, was burns, while Cpl Neilson, 31, of Preston, suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of blast-related injuries.

Both men were married with one child and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is understood the Health and Safety Executive as well as the Ministry of Defence have been investigating the cause of the incident.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in handling military injury cases.