Soldier died in door punch accident

A SOLDIER based at DM Kineton died after he severed an artery in his arm when he punched through a door while in a drunken state, an inquest has heard.

Durham-born Cpl Philip Charles Westberg, a 27-year-old ammunitions technician for 121 Squadron the Royal Logistics Corps who was awarded the Afghanistan Medal for a tour of duty there, was found dead at the military site on New Year’s Day.

During the inquest at Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington today (Friday), coroner Sean McGovern read a police report which described the events which led to Cpl Westberg’s death.

The soldier had been out celebrating New Year’s Eve with his girlfriend Becky Given at a pub in Banbury.

The evening had started off as a good natured affair but at midnight Cpl Westberg got involved in drinking games which included drinking a half-pint cocktail of ‘top shelf spirits’ and shots of tequila.

As the night went on the soldier became more agitated and aggressive and his girlfriend later described his level of drunkenness as ‘nine out of ten’.

Cpl Westberg was given a lift back to DM Kineton and after an altercation with gate guards he was last seen alive as he staggered away to his accommodation block at about 1.30am.

The next morning Cpl Matt Rumkey was walking his dog on the base and the animal was drawn to block six, which was unoccupied for the Christmas period and located about 300 meters from block 601 where Cpl Westberg was living.

This led to the discovery of Cpl Westberg’s body, which was found at the bottom of stairs at block six.

Cpl Rumkey had said he had wrongly assumed a medical training exercise was taking place due to the amount of blood around the body.

Police, firefighters acting as first responders and paramedics attended the scene and at about 11.30am Cpl Westberg was declared dead.

An examination by a paramedic found he had been dead for six hours and that the cause of his death was a deep laceration to his right arm which had severed a major artery.

Evidence from the scene showed that the soldier had punched through a reinforced glass panel in a door of the block, which had caused the fatal injury.

The soldier had had previous involvement with the police due to being drunk.

Officers said there was no evidence of wrong doing or any third party being involved in Cpl Westberg’s death.

His only registered next of kin was his father, who did not attend the inquest.

Mr McGovern said: “I am satisfied that Cpl Westberg died as a result of an accident in that he punched through a pane of glass to gain access to the block and suffered cuts his arm in doing so.

“I offer my condolences to Mr Westberg senior.”