Soldier had rare heart condition

A SOLDIER who collapsed and died after a fitness test had suffered from a rare heart condition, an inquest has been told.Lance Corporal Peter Banbury, who was based at Wattisham Airfield, near Needham Market, died after taking part in a fitness test at the base on September 24 last year.

A SOLDIER who collapsed and died after a fitness test had suffered from a rare heart condition, an inquest has been told.

Lance Corporal Peter Banbury, who was based at Wattisham Airfield, near Needham Market, died after taking part in a fitness test at the base on September 24 last year.

The inquest at Bury St Edmunds was told that the 28-year-old soldier had taken part in indoor exercises with other members of his unit and had shown no ill-effects before going outside for a one-and-a-half-mile run.

The inquest heard written evidence from Anthony Michaelin, a fellow officer in 659 Squadron 9 Recruitment Army Air Corps, who said that as he finished the run, he noticed somebody collapsed on the floor and went to help.

He noticed that it was L-Cpl Banbury and that his breathing was "shallow" for someone who had just completed a run.

L-Cpl Banbury was taken to the station medical centre at the base and attempts were made to resuscitate him, but there were no signs of recovery.

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An initial post-mortem failed to determine the cause of L-Cpl Banbury's death, so further tests were carried out by pathologist Dr Martin Goddard at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

These tests found that L-Cpl Banbury had suffered acute heart failure, brought about by a heart condition called arrythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia - also known as ARVD.

Coroner Dr Peter Dean said that the cause of AVRD was unknown but that the condition was characterised by a disturbance in the heart rhythm and sudden death during exercise. Dr Dean recorded a verdict of death by natural causes.