LATEST NEWS: ‘Mistaken beliefs and cumulative failures’ to blame for Sunderland soldier’s death, rules coroner

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A 23-year-old soldier who was killed when a US Apache helicopter fired on a British base in Afghanistan died as a result of “mistaken beliefs and cumulative failures”, a coroner ruled today.

Lance Corporal Christopher Roney, from Sunderland, died from head injuries at Patrol Base Almas in Sangin on December 21 2009.

After a five-day hearing Sunderland Coroner Derek Winter listed a series of errors made leading up to the tragedy.

He ruled: “L/Cpl Christopher Roney died as a consequence of assumptions made, mistaken beliefs and cumulative failures by friendly forces to appropriately assess the totality of their situational awareness in respect of the ongoing events at and in the vicinity of Patrol Base Almas on December 21 2009.

“The deployment and use by friendly forces of attack helicopters was done in circumstances that ought to have been assessed by them to conclude sooner than they did that their target was not an enemy force and that the attack should be aborted.”