Army instructor hit cadet repeatedly over the head with a paddle after he tried to capsize him during ‘bonding’ canoeing session, court martial hears
- Corporal Adam Price allegedly hit Recruit Connor Mills up to five times
- Recruit Mills was left with a cut above his eye following the incident
- Corporal Price enies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH)
A British army instructor ‘recklessly’ struck a young cadet who had tried to capsize him repeatedly over the head in a ‘bonding’ canoeing session, a court martial heard.
Bulford Military Court heard that Corporal Adam Price hit Recruit Connor Mills up to five times leaving him with a cut above his eye.
Corporal Price, of the Army Training Centre in Pirbright, Surrey, denies one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) for the incident that occurred on a lake in Wales last year.
Recruit Mills was injured just eight weeks after he joined the military and had allegedly attempted to capsize Price’s canoe beforehand.
The alleged assault happened on an adventure training week in September last year, where a group of instructors including Corporal Price had taken their new recruits out on to the water at Sennybridge in Brecon.
Corporal Adam Price (pictured) allegedly hit Recruit Connor Mills up to five times leaving him with a cut above his eye
Corporal Adam Price denies one charge of count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH)
The court heard they had spent an hour performing manoeuvres in their canoes which included flipping the vessels over in a ‘playful’ fashion which then ‘disintegrated’ into a ‘mess around’.
The court heard as part of this, Recruit Mills dived into the water from his canoe, swam up to Corporal Price’s craft – which contained another cadet as well and was the only one not to have been tipped over – and started rocking it.
Describing the events, Flight Lieutenant Andrew Otchie said: ‘Mills got out of the canoe and tried to capsize Corporal Price’s canoe.
‘Corporal Price hit him with his paddle four or five times and struck him once on the forehead.
‘He had a 1.5cm cut above his right eyebrow
‘Price denies striking him and said he didn’t know how the wound was caused.. It was no accident.
‘It wasn’t deliberate but it was reckless and a lack of judgement and as a result, Mills was injured.’
Testifying himself, Recruit Mills told how they were around 20 metres (65 feet) from the shore when he jumped in.
He said: ‘As I rocked the canoe I felt the plastic oar hit my helmet one or two times then on another attempt he hit me, then Corporal Price said ‘Stop, you’re bleeding’.
‘I instinctively looked up, it definitely wasn’t the other recruit in the canoe with him. I felt about four blows. I only felt them a few minutes after because of the adrenaline.
‘I saw Corporal Price’s face for a brief second. He didn’t look angry, or upset or anything. I didn’t know I was bleeding until I swam back to shore.
‘The trainers gave me first aid and told me to wash my face.
‘When we were packing up, Corporal Price came up to me and asked if I was alright. I said ‘Yes’, then went to get on the coach.’
Recruit Mills denied hearing Corporal Price telling him to stop, saying his hearing was impaired by being in the water.
Witness Mark Stevens told the court the training exercise was nothing ‘serious’ and supposed to be a ‘fun game.’
Recruit Mark Stevens described the session as ‘bonding time’
‘It was a bit of a mess around, it wasn’t anything serious. It was a fun game. It was everyone for himself.
‘It all disintegrated, it was a free for all. The instructors were all relaxed.
‘It was a cat and mouse game. When Mills jumped in it was a surprise. Corporal Price’s canoe was the only ones who hadn’t gone in.
‘Price’s face had an expression of confusion and disbelief. He was trying to get away.
‘I didn’t hear him saying stop. I didn’t hear anything.
‘There was a jabbing motion with the paddle in quick succession with the sharp side. It was definitely Corporal Price.’
Recruit Louise Miles told the court that the ‘bonding experience’ turned aggressive.
‘It was a bit of banterous playing,’ she said. ‘It was fast paced so we decided not to join in, it was getting quite aggressive so we paddled away.
‘I didn’t see it but I heard someone say someone was bleeding. It was about the bonding experience.’
The trial continues.
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