Belfast Telegraph

Monday 31 August 2015

Sailor jailed for submarine murder

Published 19/09/2011

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan has been jailed for a minimum 25 years for murdering Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux
Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan has been jailed for a minimum 25 years for murdering Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux
HMS Astute was the scene of a shooting spree by Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, a court has been told
Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, from Wigan, died after he was shot on board HMS Astute as it was docked in Southampton (MoD/PA)

A sailor who went on a murderous rampage with a semi-automatic rifle onboard a nuclear-powered submarine because he held a grudge against his superiors has been jailed for at least 25 years.

Able seaman Ryan Donovan, 23, admitted killing Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, instantly with a shot to the head as he ran amok on the HMS Astute while it was docked in Southampton.

The father of-four, known as Molly, had bravely tried to tackle Donovan after hearing the shots from the SA80 but he paid with his life.

His widow Gillian said nothing could ever replace her soulmate and father of Jamie, Arron, Bethany and Charlie and "the heartbreaking sadness for the loss of Ian".

Donovan's "murderous onslaught" was only stopped when the leader of Southampton City Council, Royston Smith, and its chief executive, Alistair Neill, heroically wrestled the weapon from him.

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

But his real targets, whom he also admitted attempting to murder, were Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, and Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37. He had blasted at the pair from 10ft in a corridor four times but missed.

Donovan had been drinking while ashore and had volunteered for guard duty when onboard, because he admitted he was intent on killing the two petty officers who had reported him for disobeying a direct order to clean a part of the sub.

Donovan had been told he would not be leaving the sub for an attachment on another vessel because of his behaviour, and he had anger towards them, the court heard.

The amateur rapper, who called himself Reggie Moondog, was given the weapon and 30 rounds by PO Brown. He turned the gun on him and CPO McCoy but the men dived for cover or fled.

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