Navy man’s bravery highlighted on TV

Ian Molyneux
Ian Molyneux

AN HEROIC Wigan seaman’s ultimate sacrifice to save others from a crazed gunman is to feature on a prime time documentary tomorrow (Tuesday).

Ian Molyneux’s bravery is the focus of the final episode of the ITV series Saved.

The Springfield 36-year-old lost his life tackling armed rating Ryan Donovan who was threatening to kill crew members and VIPs visiting a submarine docked in Southampton five years ago.

The programme will include moving interviews with Lt Cdr Molyneux’s widow Gillian and their son, Jamie, who was 13 at the time of his father’s death and recounts the moment there was a knock at the door from a Navy Chaplain and he discovered what had happened.

That was in April 2011, when a group of civilians were invited to visit nuclear submarine HMS Astute in Southampton.

Among the guests were the Mayor, Carol Cunio; Royston Smith, a Conservative MP and the leader of Southampton Council; Geraint West, Head of National Marine Facilities at the National Oceanography Centre and Alistair Neil, the Chief Executive of Southampton City Council.

The group were in the control room on a tour given by Lt Cdrs Molyneux and Chris Hodge when they heard a loud banging noise from the corridor. Instantly recognising gunshots, Lt Cdr Molyneux rushed out of the control room to investigate and was instantly shot and killed by Able Seaman Donovan, who then entered the control room brandishing a rifle.

At point blank range, he then shot Lt Cdr Hodge, who fell to the floor. Civilians Mssrs Smith and Neil instinctively knew they had to act before others were injured.

Together, they managed to overpower the gunman and wrestle him to the ground. Mr Neil then sat on top of the gunman to immobilise him, but noticed that he was wearing what appeared to be a bomb vest. Convinced this was a terrorist attack, Mr Neil tried to contain the gunman while removing the vest.

Donovan was later sentenced the life imprisonment for murder. His motives have never been established. Ian Molyneux has been posthumously honoured for his bravery and his name included on Wigan’s war memorial.

Saved is on tomorrow evening at 9pm on ITV and includes a reconstruction of the tragic events. A programme spokesman said: “Saved tells the inspirational stories of ordinary Britons who woke up to what seemed like a typical day, blissfully unaware to the fact it could have been their last. Could have been, that is, but for the quick-thinking, big-hearted courage of total strangers. Strangers who made a split second decision to act and, ultimately, made the difference between life and death.”