Inquest Into Deaths Of Army Reservists

An Army officer told a grieving family it would have been "too much paperwork'' to cancel a special forces test march which led to three deaths, a Solihull coroner has heard.

The unnamed commanding officer is alleged to have made the remark to relatives of Lance Corporal Craig Roberts shortly after they had viewed his body in a mortuary.

An inquest into the deaths of L/Cpl Roberts, Lance Corporal Edward Maher and Corporal James Dunsby has heard that the men collapsed on the Brecon Beacons in South Wales on one of the hottest days of 2013.

In a family statement read to the hearing by her lawyer, L/Cpl Roberts' mother Margaret questioned why the 24-year-old was ``sent up there in that heat'' on July 13.

The family of L/Cpl Roberts, who was working as a teaching assistant, were informed of his death at 11.30pm on the day of the exercise.

In their statement, family members said they later visited a hospital in South Wales, where they asked a commanding officer whether the timing of the march could have been changed.

``He replied 'There would be too much paperwork','' the family statement added. ``We were so angry with this answer. We were being told that the march wasn't cancelled to save on paperwork.''

Born in St Asaph in North Wales, L/Cpl Roberts joined the Army reserves while studying at the University of Leicester and had also worked as a fitness instructor.

Described as being very patriotic, the banking and finance graduate served with the Royal Anglian Regiment in Cyprus before informing family members that he wished to be selected for the reserve special forces.

The family statement added: ``We were concerned, well actually terrified, about where he might be sent and the danger he might be put in.

``But it didn't occur to us to be worried about training.

``We are proud to be his parents. In the days and weeks that followed Craig's death we asked ourselves why he and others were sent up there in that heat.

``We hope this inquest can answer that question.''

The inquest, being heard in Solihull, West Midlands, is expected to last for up to four weeks and to examine risk-assessments, briefings and the amount of water given to soldiers before the 16-mile (26km) march.

L/Cpl Roberts, originally from Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, was pronounced dead on the mountainside, while L/Cpl Maher and Corporal Dunsby, both 31, were taken to hospital.

L/Cpl Maher, who was born in Winchester, died later the same day in Merthyr Tydfil's Prince Charles Hospital.

Cpl Dunsby, from Bath, Somerset, died on July 30 after being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.