Soldier killed by faulty lamp in Kenyan hotel

East Durham News
East Durham News
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A SERGEANT Major was electrocuted after he touched a faulty lamp in a hotel room in Kenya.

Sergeant Major John ‘Bob’ Marley might have survived had he received better treatment from Kenyan medics, an inquest heard

The 42-year-old, from Horden, was serving with the British Army Training Unit in Kenya when he died on April 26 last year.

The inquest at the Coroner’s Court in Crook was told he and two colleagues took a long weekend of leave in Mombasa.

Staff Sergeant Steve Gillian said they shared a large hotel room and were preparing to go out for the evening when the accident happened.

He said: “I was in the bathroom when I heard Bob scream.

“I rushed back into the room and saw Bob on top of the lamp.

“He was in a bad way, but breathing, so me and my colleague commenced CPR.”

Colour Sergeant Chris Woods rushed to the hotel reception to ask them to call an ambulance, but due to language problems, the receptionist called a taxi.

Another officer who was present found a telephone number for an ambulance on the internet. Sgt Mjr Marley was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Sgt Woods, who went with him in the ambulance, told the hearing: “They just put an oxygen mask on Bob, they didn’t try to shock him which is what I was expecting.

“I told them they needed to get some air inside him, but the same thing happened at the hospital.

“Had he received the treatment I like to think he would have received in the UK, I believe he may have survived.”

The inquest heard the lamp switch was found to have exposed live wires, and the wall socket on/off switch did not work.

A post-mortem examination found electric current burns on one of Sgt Mjr Marley’s fingers.

Deputy Durham Coroner Crispin Oliver said the death was both tragic and poignant.

“It was also very unlucky,” the coroner added.

“I cannot comment on the treatment Bob received from the Kenyan medical people. But there is no doubt his comrades did everything they possibly could to save him.”

l Verdict: accidental death.