A ROYAL Navy officer who was shot on board a nuclear-powered submarine despite the heroic actions of a Gwent man was unlawfully killed, an inquest heard yesterday.

An inquest into the death of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux had previously heard that former Southampton council chief executive Alistair Neill, who lives near Abergavenny, tackled Able Seaman Ryan Donovan and, together with former council leader Royston Smith, took his automatic weapon from him.

Donovan, who was drunk, had just killed Lt Cdr Molyneux when he went on a rampage on board HMS Astute while it was docked at Southampton on April 8, 2011.

Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a narrative verdict yesterday and said Lt Cdr Molyneux was unlawfully killed.

He also said he would recommend that random breath testing for Royal Navy personnel be implemented after Donovan was at least three times the drink-drive limit and on guard duty on HMS Astute in April 2011.

Mr Wiseman said he would write to the navy with 18 areas it should look at.

Donovan, 23, was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 25 years after pleading guilty at Winchester Crown Court to the murder of father of four Lt Cdr Molyneux.

The navigator yeoman also pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge, 45, whom he shot in the stomach.

The crown court heard his real targets, whom he also admitted to attempting to murder, were Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37. Lt Cdr Molyneux, 36, suffered a single gunshot wound to the top of his head, consistent with him rushing forward to tackle the gunman. He received a posthumous George Medal for his actions.

Royal Navy: This was a case of murder

IN A STATEMENT the Royal Navy said its “deepest sympathies”

remained with Lt Cdr Molyneux’s family, and said: “This was an exceptional case of murder with criminal intent. Since the incident, the Royal Navy has undertaken two thorough service inquiries to ensure that the sequence of events is fully understood and lessons have been learned.”

The statement said the inquiries will be published today and the recommendations made by the coroner will be considered.