British Army soldier accidentally dove 70ft from hotel balcony in Poland, inquest finds

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A soldier accidentally dove 70ft to his death from a hotel balcony after being pepper sprayed outside a strip club in Poland.

  • Corporal Ryan Lovatt, 25, died on August 1, 2019, when he dove from the balcony
  • He had stayed at the Comfort City Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, and fell after 4 a.m.
  • The squaddie, from Torrance, East Dunbartonshire, was out drinking
  • An inquest heard he was pepper sprayed by a bouncer and said he could not see
  • Mr Lovatt’s family today told how they felt ‘abandoned by those he trusted’










The family of a soldier who died after diving from a seventh-floor balcony after a drunken night where he was sprayed with pepper spray believe he was ‘let down’ by the military.

Corporal Ryan Lovatt, 25, died on August 1, 2019 when he accidentally fell from a balcony at the Comfort City Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, just after 4 a.m.

The squad, from Torrance, east Dunbartonshire, had been involved in a drinking session at a cocktail bar and an inquest found he had become ‘disoriented’.

The court heard that Mr Lovatt had been pepper sprayed by a bouncer and told a colleague he could not see.

He was serving with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and had been deployed for diplomatic service with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Corporal Ryan Lovatt (pictured), 25, died on August 1, 2019 when he accidentally fell from a balcony at the Comfort City Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, just after 4 a.m.

Oxfordshire Senior Coroner Darren Salter told an inquest at Oxford Coroners Court yesterday that he believed a sober person should have been part of the party.

The coroner said: ‘I think the reality speaks to the danger or likelihood when groups are off base on a trip that one could very well see is alcohol being consumed above the level set in a policy.

“So what’s really important is someone giving the responsibility to be sober and to keep an eye on things and to keep everyone together.”

He issued an order to prevent future deaths in an attempt to mitigate a similar tragedy after Mr Lovatt died from his injuries, with a finding of ‘accident’ recorded.

But Mr Lovatt’s family today told how they felt ‘abandoned by those he trusted’.

He grew up in a military family and was described by grieving parents as “a pleasure” to be around and a dedicated soldier who was proud to serve in the British Army.

The family said: “The day Ryan died our lives changed forever. Ryan excelled as a member of the British Armed Forces, he chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

“Ryan was a born soldier and had so much promise. While in Poland, he had already earned his ‘Spurs’ in several grueling exercises conducted by US forces, one of the few to achieve this prestigious honour.

“Ryan had a gift in that he brought a smile to everyone who had the pleasure of his company.

“Ryan’s preventable death has left a void not only with his family but with everyone who knew him.

“The world is certainly a darker place since the life of this wonderful young man was taken too soon.

Oxfordshire Senior Coroner Darren Salter told an inquest at Oxford Coroners Court (pictured) yesterday that he believed a sober person should have been part of the party

Oxfordshire Senior Coroner Darren Salter told an inquest at Oxford Coroners Court (pictured) yesterday that he believed a sober person should have been part of the party

“Ryan loved and trusted the British Army to have his back without a doubt. It’s hard not to think he was let down by those he trusted.

“All we can hope for now if the security improvements are introduced as soon as possible.”

“The investigation was not just about getting answers in Ryan’s memory, but also about helping to protect the lives of all the other brave soldiers.

“We wouldn’t want other families going through what we have..”

His family has assigned military accident attorneys at Irwin Mitchell to support them through the investigative process and help obtain answers.

Stephanie Clark, military accident lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: ‘Understandably Ryan’s family remain devastated by his sudden and unexpected death which they are still struggling to come to terms with.

“For almost two years they have had a number of questions and concerns regarding the events that took place prior to Ryan’s death.

“Unfortunately, the investigation identified worrying issues.

“While nothing can compensate for their loss, it is essential that lessons are now learned from Ryan’s death to help protect other service personnel in the future.

“We welcome the coroner’s order to prevent future deaths and urge the Ministry of Defense to address the coroner’s concerns as soon as possible.”

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