Coroner to raise issue of 'drinking culture' in army on back of inquest into death of Andrew Murgatroyd, 21

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Andrew Murgatroyd Andrew Murgatroyd

A coroner is to raise the “Army’s drinking culture” with the Defence Secretary after hearing how a Bradford soldier died following his barracks leaving party at which he downed 16 shots of alcohol.

The 21-year-old was plied with a lethal cocktail of banned “top shelf” shots at a gathering to wish him well as he transferred to a new posting, an inquest was told yesterday.

Andrew Murgatroyd had drunk 16 measures of mixed spirits at the barracks in only 30 minutes.

A pathologist found he had died from choking on his own vomit while acutely intoxicated with more than 320mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system.

His death was described as a “waste” by a commanding officer at the inquest in Salisbury. Major Timothy Parkes, of the Royal Logistic Corps, said: “Top shelves have been frowned upon in the Army for the last 20 to 25 years. It is such a waste.”

Swindon and Wiltshire coroner Ian Singleton recorded a narrative verdict.

In his closing remarks, he said: “This was a tragic and unnecessary death at a time when Andrew was looking forward to a new posting. “I am concerned that a culture appears to exist to ply someone with alcohol and I am concerned that culture is not isolated to Buckley Barracks.”

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