Dartford submarine killer 'should have gone to anger management classes'

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan.

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan.

First published in Dartford & Swanley news by

BUNGLING Navy bosses failed to enrol a troubled Dartford seaman on an anger management course - just 18 months before he killed one of his colleagues, an inquest heard.

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, 23, of Hillside Road, had been referred to doctors at the Royal Nave base in Scotland, back in October 2009 after he fractured his hand by punching a desk.

The navigator yeoman was seen by Commander Gareth Evans, the deputy principal medical officer, alongside a representative from the Department of Community Mental Health.

Southampton Coroner's Court heard how Cdr Evans verbally recommended Donovan be enrolled on the anger management course.

But due to the absence of a formal written referral, Donovan was never given a place on the series of workshops.

And just 18 months later, Donovan's anger issues got the better of him, as he went on a murderous rampage on board HMS Astute when it was berthed in Southampton, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux.

Cdr Evans told the court Donovan struck him as “quite immature”, adding he was concerned about his “vulnerability”.

He added he “could not elicit any significant mental health history” in Donovan, claiming the crazed gunman “knew exactly what he was doing” when he gunned down Lt Cdr Molyneux on April 8, 2011.

The inquest had earlier heard how Donovan had gone on a 48-hour drinking binge in the build up to the shooting and was almost twice the drink drive limit when he killed the father-of-four.

But police investigating the shooting concluded his drinking was not out of the ordinary.

The hearing at Southampton Civic Centre was told how detectives investigating the shooting were so alarmed by the crew's binge-drinking that chief constable Alex Marshall took the step of contacting military authorities.

Richard Wilkinson, counsel for Lt Cdr Molyneux's family, told the hearing police found “significant” numbers of the crew were involved on getting “drunk out of their minds”.

The Royal Navy has since tightened its rules on alcohol consumption before duty.

At the time sailors were allowed 10 units of alcohol in the previous 24 hours with no alcohol in the 10 hours before duty, which has now been changed to five units.

Donovan, who was 22 at the time of the shooting, is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Lt Cdr Molyneux.

The inquest continues.

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