Soldier 'Lied' On Medical Technique
17 October 2014, 15:37
A soldier has denied lying to a jury about the existence of an unusual Army medical technique to aid a comrade who stands accused of murder.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and is still a serving soldier with the The Royal Irish Regiment said Army medics had taught him to squeeze an injured man's testicles to establish consciousness.
He was giving evidence from the witness box at Birmingham Crown Court, today, where Lance Corporal Richard Farrell is accused of murdering Corporal Geoffrey McNeill in his room at Clive Barracks in Shropshire, in March.
Farrell, also of the regiment and originally from Dublin, denies murdering his comrade in a violent attack which left the victim's neck broken in three places.
Both men had been out drinking heavily on a night in the nearby town of Market Drayton, which ended with Cpl McNeill flooring 23-year-old Farrell with a right hook after claiming he had been ``trapping off''.
Farrell, a veteran of Afghanistan, woke up back at the base later that morning, on March 8, and could recall nothing of the previous evening's events after he was punched.
Earlier in the trial, the prosecution detailed how Cpl McNeill, also an Afghanistan battle veteran, sustained ``heavy blows'' including to his testicles.
During his own testimony earlier this week, Farrell told how he had discovered McNeill's body in his room later that morning, attempting to revive the 32-year-old before raising the alarm.
He also told how he ``grabbed his (Cpl McNeill's) testicles'' in order to test the older man's consciousness and was ``90%'' sure that he had been taught this on at Army medical course at Otterburn, in Northumberland.
Today, a soldier who had come through basic training with L/Cpl Farrell describing him as a friend, told how he had also learned the same technique.
He told how medics taught them to assess a battle casualties' level of awareness using a system of checks, including ``pinching the septum, the earlobe, the neck, and even if it comes to it - the nipples.
``You may also check the inside of the legs and testicles.''
Stephen Linehan QC, defence counsel, asked: ``Had you been taught that then?'', to which the soldier replied ``Yes''.
The soldier also said one of Cpl McNeill's nicknames around the camp was ``Cpl McNasty''.
However, Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, asked the soldier under cross examination about whether he was sure he had ever learned such a technique on the Army's combat medic course.
He asked the soldier if it was the truth, to which the man replied: ``Yes, as far as I am aware.''
``Is it what you were taught?'' Mr Hotten asked.
When the soldier replied: ``Yes'', the prosecutor said: ``That's a lie, isn't it?''
Mr Hotten added: ``I am suggesting to you that's not true.''
But the soldier responded: ``No, I am suggesting to you it's the truth.''
Mr Hotten also established from the man he was a ``good friend'' of Farrell's having visited him in jail once already, while the young lance corporal was awaiting his trial.
The prosecution then called an Army medical trainer to give evidence - a man whom Farrell had previously alluded to in his evidence as having been one of those who had taught him to check the testicles of an injured comrade.
The soldier, a serving sergeant, said he had read press coverage of the trial, reporting what Farrell had stated.
``I was a bit in disbelief, as this is not taught,'' he told the jury.
He added that certain techniques like pinching the septum (on the nose) or the earlobe were taught, but others like placing a finger knuckle in the eye socket or rubbing the chest sternum were ``deemed overkill'' and ``inappropriate'' and were not taught.
Asked by Mr Hotten: ``On any course that you've ever run have you ever taught it's appropriate to poke an eye or testicles?'', to which he replied: ``No''.
The trial continues.