Nuclear submarine sailor appears in court over shooting

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Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux, who was shot dead, with his wife Gillian
Image caption,
Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux was shot dead

A sailor charged with murder and three counts of attempted murder after a shooting on board a nuclear submarine has appeared in court.

Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux, 36, of Wigan, Greater Manchester, was shot dead on HMS Astute while it was docked in Southampton on 8 April.

A second man, Lt Cdr Christopher Hodge, was also shot and remains in hospital.

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 22, appeared at the city's magistrates' court and was remanded in custody.

The Royal Navy serviceman, has also been charged with the attempted murders of Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37, and Lt Cdr Hodge, 45.

He is due to appear at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday.

The charges follow an incident last Friday in which shots were fired from an SA80 rifle as local dignitaries, including the city council's mayor, chief executive and leader, were being given a tour of HMS Astute.

'Utterly devoted'

Nick Hawkins, prosecuting, said that the case could have been handled internally by the armed forces but it had been agreed that the case would be held in the civilian courts.

Mr Hawkins, the chief prosecutor for Hampshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Because the defendant is a serviceman he also falls under the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces.

"The Armed Forces do have jurisdiction but during the course of the weekend I had discussions with the director of service prosecutions and we are in agreement this case is to be properly tried in the civilian courts."

Image caption,
The submarine has been berthed at the Eastern Docks since Wednesday

Lt Cdr Molyneux's widow, Gillian, described the father of four as "utterly devoted to his family".

HMS Astute left Southampton at 1610 BST to return to its base at Faslane, Scotland.

The submarine has been berthed at the Eastern Docks since Wednesday on a five-day official visit.

The 97m (318ft)-long craft is the UK's newest nuclear-powered attack submarine and is based at the Faslane Naval Base on the River Clyde.

It was named and launched by the Duchess of Cornwall in June 2007 before being welcomed into the Royal Navy in August last year.

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