HMS Astute Sailor Back In Court

A Royal Navy sailor's been remanded in custody after making his first crown court appearance accused of the murder of a colleague and the attempted murders of three other crew on board a nuclear submarine.

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 22, of Hillside Road, Dartford, Kent, appeared at Winchester Crown Court charged with the murder of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, who was fatally shot on board HMS Astute while it was docked in Southampton, Hampshire, last Friday.

He has also been charged with the attempted murders of Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37, and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge, 45.

Judge Keith Cutler adjourned the case for a plea and case management hearing on June 10 and remanded Donovan in custody until then.

A hearing at Southampton Magistrates' Court on Monday was told by Nick Hawkins, chief prosecutor for Hampshire Crown Prosecution Service, that the Director of Service Prosecutions had agreed to hand over jurisdiction of the case to the civilian courts.

Mr Hawkins said that the allegation against Donovan was that he fired an SA80 rifle six times, aiming at the four named victims, killing Lt Cdr Molyneux.

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

She added: "Everything he did was for us. He was very proud to be an officer in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.''

The shootings took place as local dignitaries, including the city council's mayor, chief executive and leader, were being given a tour of the submarine while it was berthed at the Eastern Docks on a five-day official visit to the Hampshire city.

HMS Astute was cleared to leave Southampton on Monday afternoon to return to its base at Faslane, Scotland.

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