Life for Royal Navy Sub Murder Sailor

19 September 2011, 14:36 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A Royal Navy sailor has been given a life sentence murdering an officer from Wigan onboard a nuclear submarine.

A Royal Navy sailor who pleaded guilty to the gun murder of an officer from Wigan and the attempted murder of three other crew onboard the nuclear submarine HMS Astute in Southampton, has been given a life sentence.

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 23, of Hillside Road, Dartford, Kent, admitted shooting Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, with an SA80 rifle while the sub was docked on April 8 this year.

He also admitted the attempted murders of three others.

Donovan fired the SA80 six times in the control room of the sub, killing Weapons Engineer Officer Lt Cdr Molyneux.
It is believed Donovan was on sentry duty and the shooting happened during a weapons changeover between shifts.

Lt Cdr Hodge was also shot in the incident but he survived his injuries.

The shootings took place as local dignitaries, including the city council's mayor, chief executive and leader Royston Smith, were being given a tour of the submarine while it was berthed at the Eastern Docks on a five-day official visit to the Hampshire city.

Mr Smith wrestled Donovan to the ground soon after he started firing at around noon. He said``Two shots were fired, straight after he entered the control room again and began shooting again. I ran towards him, I pushed him against the wall, we wrestled to take the gun from him. He fired again, I wrestled again to get the weapon from him. I pushed him to another wall, I wrestled him to the ground and managed to take the weapon away from him then others came to help to restrain him.''

Lt Cdr Molyneux's widow, Gillian, described the father-of-four as ``utterly devoted to his family''. She added: ``Everything he did was for us. He was very proud to be an officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.''

Able Seaman Donovan was told he'll serve at least 25 years in jail.