An MoD report has concluded that ‘inadequate’ training was the ‘causal factor’ in the death of Lance-Corporal Joe Spencer.
‘If a causal factor is removed from the accident sequence, the accident would not have occurred.’
Report definition of causal factor
He suffered fatal injuries after his L115A3 Sniper Rifle discharged at Tain Air Weapons Range in Scotland in November 2016. He had been sheltering in an ISO container, resting the butt of the rifle on his boot and had the suppressor pressed against his chin.
The report found that at the end of a firing drill, weapons were not unloaded correctly. As a result, 2 ‘unsafe weapons’ were left unattended, and it is ‘extremely likely’ that LCpl Spencer’s weapon was also not unloaded correctly.
It states that a “series of errors, shortfalls and poor judgement” at an army weapons training exercise led to the death of L/Cpl Spencer and concludes that it was an “avoidable accident”.
The report said: “Whilst resting his chin on the weapon’s suppressor, equipment or clothing most probably snagged the rifle’s trigger inadvertently, resulting in its discharge. That his weapon was in an unsafe condition with a round chambered was extremely likely to have been caused by an incomplete unload drill being carried out earlier that day.”