- Mayor and Southampton City Council chief exec on board during tragedy
- Royal Navy serviceman arrested for shooting of two colleagues
- Defence Secretary Liam Fox ‘greatly saddened’ by ‘tragic incident’
- Victim’s wife: ‘Ian was utterly devoted to his family. Everything he did was for us’
Police are today questioning Ryan Donovan who is believed to have shot two senior officers, killing one of them, on a nuclear submarine before his deadly gun rampage was stopped by a council leader.
Pictured less than 48 hours before the alleged incident in the control room of a nuclear submarine, he can be seen smiling with his ward mates, unaware of the violence that would follow two days later.
Gillian Molyneux, Lt Cdr Molyneux’s wife, said: ‘Ian was utterly devoted to his family. Everything he did was for us. He was very proud to be an officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service. He will live on in our four beautiful children.’
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Smiling: This picture was taken on board HMS Astute showing Ryan Donovan, circled, smiling with his fellow crewmates. Less than two days later he launched a gun attack that killed one senior officer and left another injured
Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux with his wife, Gillian. She described him as being ‘very proud to be an officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service’
Lieutenant Chris Hodge, circled, having dinner with some of his colleagues
Captain Phil Buckley, Captain of the Faslane Flotilla to which HMS ASTUTE belongs, said: ‘Ian Molyneux was a thoroughly professional and competent submarine engineer and a great asset to HMS ASTUTE and the Royal Navy’s Submarine Service.
‘His untimely death is a big blow to his family, who have the Flotilla’s deepest sympathy. His loss will also be felt by his shipmates and across the Service. He was, simply, a good bloke.’
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, First Sea Lord said: ‘This is a very sad day for the Royal Navy and in particular the Submarine service. Our submarines are crewed by a highly professional cadre of sailors, many of whom are actively involved today in operations in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean.
Arrested: Ryan Donovan was today being interviewed by police over the alleged shooting
‘This incident is indeed tragic and the Royal Navy, in cooperation with the Hampshire Constabulary will investigate this incident fully.
My personal thoughts and sympathies and those of the whole Royal Navy are with the family of Lt Cdr Molyneaux, and that of the injured submariner.’
The gunman was overpowered by a visiting council leader, Royston Smith, who last night described the extraordinary scenes on HMS Astute, a £1.2 billion attack submarine.
‘A guy appeared in his gear,’ he said. ‘He had all his body armour and camo on and was carrying a weapon, not a handgun, an SA80.
‘The first two shots I heard, I didn’t see. Three and four were reasonably close. Fortunately most people were out of the way.
‘He was stood in the doorway. I was about five yards away. I didn’t think about it but took a decision that if I didn’t stop him I might get hit or other people might get hit.
‘I just charged at him, and pushed him against the wall. I got hold of his weapon and had a tussle.’
Mr Smith, 46, who served in the RAF as a mechanic, said the gunman made no noise during the struggle.
‘I was shouting a bit. That wasn’t successful so I threw him, charged him against the other wall,’ he added. ‘I managed to pull the rifle away from him.
‘In the first tussle he let off shot number five. I felt something but it didn’t hurt. There were about five or six shots in total.
‘I took the gun and threw it to my left under a table out of his reach.’
Schoolchildren – aged 14 to 16 and on a visit to the vessel in Southampton Docks – ran for cover when the shooting broke out.
Crime scene: HMS Astute arrived at Southampton docks on Wednesday
Hero: Councillor Royston Smith with Commander Breckenridge alongside HMS Astute
The dead man is Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, the submarine’s weapons engineering officer and a father of two who was in his thirties. He was due to transfer to the Navy’s second Astute class sub, HMS Ambush, and was second in rank to the submarine’s commander.
The wounded man was named last night as Lt Cdr Chris Hodge,
The man accused of firing the shots is believed to be able seaman Ryan Donovan, 22. He was under arrest last night and is said to have snapped after being refused shore leave.
Donovan, wearing body armour and camouflage clothing, is alleged to have taken his Navy issue SA80 and fired six shots.
Colleagues said the 5ft 6ins sailor had been pressed into carrying out his previous tour of duty, despite being due shore leave, The Sun reported.
He was believed to be dreading spending another month at sea on more exercises due to start on Monday.
Police and Navy officers guard the docks around the HMS Astute in Southampton where the shooting took place
Reports also claimed the rating snapped after he was told he could not use a toilet because visiting dignitaries should go first, The Times reported.
A Ministry of Defence source told the newspaper: ‘With civic dignitaries on board, toilet arrangements were stretched to the absolute limit.
‘I’m told the rating said he urgently needed to attend a call of nature only to be ordered to allow visitors first use of a toilet near the control room.’
Mr Smith, a Tory who became leader of the city council last year, added: ‘People were in shock. Most people didn’t do anything but we only had seconds. I wasn’t going to take it lying down.
‘I don’t feel like a hero. I rather wish it had never happened. The naval officers had been shot so they weren’t in a position to do anything. They weren’t in a good state. I’m just lucky that I got to come home tonight because some of those guys won’t.’
Mr Smith was on board with city mayor Carol Cunio and council chief executive Alistair Neill. They all escaped injury.The Ministry of Defence confirmed the shooting was not related to terrorism. A security review will now examine the case for tighter controls on those allowed to carry weapons on nuclear-powered submarines.
The gunman’s psychiatric state will also be examined. Police plan to speak to 30 witnesses to the midday incident. Last night Alec Samuels, a Tory councillor, told the Daily Mail: ‘I’ve heard that Royston Smith helped to overpower the gunman.
‘I’m not surprised because he is an extremely energetic and courageous fellow. That is exactly how I would expect him to respond.
‘He has been keeping fit by climbing mountains to raise money for injured British soldiers coming back from overseas conflicts.
‘This would have stood him in good stead. In fact, I would have been very surprised if he had done nothing on that submarine.’
Armed police, firemen, paramedics and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance helicopter were sent to the dockside where the submarine had been berthed since Wednesday.
The vessel had been due to stay in the port for five days, on a public relations mission. Brian Cedar, who lives at the city’s marina, said: ‘I saw at least six people carry a stretcher off the gangway into a waiting ambulance.
‘If you can have a shooting like this on a nuclear submarine it is worrying.’
A 50-year-old dock worker said: ‘The whole place just filled with police and we thought it might be a nuclear incident.’
Senior Royal Navy officer, Captain Phil Buckley, who is in charge of nuclear submarines based at Faslane in Scotland, said last night: ‘The submarine is in an entirely normal and safe state. There is no nuclear incident taking place.’
A police boat, two vans, a police car and fire truck are seen rushing to the scene near HMS Astute after the shooting
An emergency services helicopter lands at the scene of the shooting near the submarine on Southampton docks, where one person has been confirmed dead
FACTFILE: THE £1.2BN HMS ASTUTE
The HMS Astute has faced embarrassing setbacks since being revealed as one of the UK’s newest and most powerful attack submarines.
The 97-m long vessel – the flagship of the Navy’s submarine fleet and ‘the stealthiest ever built in the UK’ – can carry up to 38 Spearfish heavy torpedoes and Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise missiles.
But the sub, which at 7,800 tonnes weighs the equivalent of 1,000 double decker buses, has been beset by problems since it was commissioned in August 2010.
Two months later it ran aground on a shingle bank in the Isle of Skye and had to be towed free after 10 hours.
Last December the £1.2 billion Astute suffered a mechanical failure during sea trials off the Scottish coast and was forced to limp back to its home port of Faslane.
The sub is the first of seven new nuclear-powered submarines of its class, with its nuclear reactors meaning it will not need refuelling in its entire 25-year life.
The vessel is faster underwater than it is on the surface and is capable of speeds of 20 knots – though its official top speed remains classified.
Hampshire Police spokesman Alan Smith said: ‘There were a number of naval personnel plus visitors on board at the time of the shooting.
‘What happened forms part of the investigation which is at a very early stage and everyone who was on board is a potential witness.
‘There were around 11 children aged 14 to 16 on the quayside when the incident occurred and they were aware of what happened but left soon after. They are being offered support if needed.’
HMS Astute had been scheduled to host visits from Sea Scouts and school and college pupils from Southampton and the New Forest.
Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: ‘I am greatly saddened to hear of this incident and of the death of a Royal Navy service person in this tragic incident.
‘It is right and proper that a full police investigation is carried out and allowed to take its course.
‘My thoughts and sympathies are with those who have been affected and their families.’
Astute hit the headlines when it ran aground on a shingle bank between the Scottish mainland and the Isle of Skye and remained marooned for several hours.
The embarrassing incident in October last year cost Commander Andy Coles his command of the submarine.
He was replaced by Commander Iain Breckenridge.
Crew members pictured in the control room aboard HMS Astute on the day she arrived in Southampton
A crew member climbs into a bunk. The submarine arrived in Southampton on Wednesday, following 46 days at sea for the 98-strong crew
The galley on the submarine and (right) a submariner edges along a narrow corridor on board the boat
- Tributes paid to N-sub gun victim (mirror.co.uk)
- ‘He will live on in our four beautiful children’: Wife’s tribute to Wigan Navy officer shot dead on nuclear sub (menmedia.co.uk)
- N-sub victim ‘devoted’ family man (mirror.co.uk)
- HMS Astute shooting: Arrested Ryan Donovan changed name to Moondogg (dailymail.co.uk)
- HMS Astute: Royal Navy officer shot dead was ‘devoted family man’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- HMS Astute shooting victim was ‘devoted’ family man (mirror.co.uk)
- HMS Astute shooting: Sailor held after gun killing on nuclear sub changed his name by deed poll to Moondogg – and wrote violent rap lyrics (dailymail.co.uk)
- “HMS Astute shooting: Nuclear submarine guard kills officer in rifle rampage” and related posts (legitgov.org)
- Man shot dead on nuclear submarine HMS Astute and another fighting for life | Mail Online (xbradtc.wordpress.com)
- HMS Astute shooting: Ryan Donovan pictured smiling 48 hours before incident (dailymail.co.uk)