THE widow of a murdered submariner has said she will now try to rebuild her life after the man who killed her ‘soulmate’ was jailed.
Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 23, admitted murdering father-of-four Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, with an SA80 rifle while HMS Astute was docked in Southampton on April 8.
Appearing at Winchester Crown Court, he also admitted the attempted murders of Petty Officer Christopher Brown, 36, Chief Petty Officer David McCoy, 37, and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hodge, 45, during a goodwill visit to Southampton.
Speaking outside court after Donovan (pictured below) was jailed for a minimum of 25 years, Gillian Molyneux, of Kells Grove, Springfield, said: “Nothing can ever replace Ian – my husband and soulmate and the father of our four beautiful children. There is no pleasure or relief for me today – only the ongoing, heartbreaking sadness for the loss of Ian. I find huge comfort in the abundance of love and support I have received from my family, many friends, Ian’s colleagues in the Royal Navy.
“I will now try to rebuild my life with my gorgeous children and the eternal memory of Ian – my hero and true love.
“To Jamie, Arron, Bethany and Charlie – your Daddy and I love you very much and our future will always be guided by him.”
Mr Justice Field called the shootings a “murderous onslaught”.
He said it had been a “miracle” he had not killed the two petty officers, which he had intended to do before Lt Cdr Molyneux came from the control room to investigate.
“You backed away and, undeterred by the danger confronting him, Lt Cdr Molyneux moved forward to apprehend you and you shot him in the side of his head,” the judge said.
“In killing that officer, you robbed him of a bright future within a loving family.” The consequences for his wife Gillian and his four children are immeasurable, he added.
“I have read the victim impact statement – the loss will be crushingly hard to bear.
“Your murderous onslaught was only brought to an end by the intervention of two civilians.
“There is no doubt their intervention prevented further deaths and serious injury.”
He described the offences as “premeditated, planned and an outrageous breach of trust”.
But he gave Donovan, of Hillside Road, Dartford, Kent, credit for his early plea, age and remorse.
Prosecutor Nigel Lickley QC told the court the death toll could have been higher but for the bravery of Southampton council leader Royston Smith and chief executive Alistair Neill.
Nick Hawkins, Chief Crown Prosecutor of CPS Wessex, said: “This was a shocking and unprecedented event where an Able Seaman shot dead an officer, wounded another and shot at two more of his colleagues in the presence not only of naval staff but also civilians.
“A group of school children who had only just left after their visit were waiting on the jetty and heard the gunshots. By pleading guilty Ryan Donovan has taken criminal responsibility for his actions and the family of Lt Cdr Molyneux and the other victims and their families will not have to relive these painful moments in a full trial.”
He added: “Donovan was in possession of an SA80 rifle and 30 rounds of live ammunition in the course of his duties as a sentry.
“He used this gun to shoot firstly at Chief Petty Officer McCoy and Petty Officer Brown, fortunately he missed them both and they were unhurt. He then shot Lt Cdr Molyneux once in the head, who died as a result of the wound received.
“He finally shot Lt Cdr Hodge once in the abdomen, causing him serious injuries. Donovan was wrestled to the ground by two civilians, who acted heroically without regard to their safety.”
Mr Lickley said Mr Neill convinced himself it was a terrorist attack and said the defendant’s eyes were “wild”.
Mr Neill described Donovan as he entered the control room.
He said: “The look on the face was of someone whose head was in another place, like they were in a dream, like they were in a faraway place, like they were doing this in a video game.”
Full story in the Wigan Evening Post (Tuesday) ...