An inquest found that a soldier from Scotland who was drunk and fell off a balcony of a Polish hotel could have been killed by alcohol restrictions at military bases.

Lieutenant Corporal Ryan Lovatt (25), died of injuries sustained in an August 2019 accident while on a leave from military duties in Warsaw.

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

An inquest heard that Corporal Ryan Lovatt, pictured, got drunk before falling from a Polish hotel balcony

A coroner found that Corporal Ryan Lovatt fell off a balcony in a Polish hotel after getting drunk.

Operation Cabrit was his deployment to Eastern Europe. This codename refers to Britain’s participation to NATO’s increased Forward Presence.

Cpl Lovatt, one of 150 British soldiers who were deployed to Poland to fight Russia. They formed part of the US-led battlegroup to demonstrate ‘transatlantic strength.

The inquest found that Cpl. Lovatt had been drinking heavily the night of 31 July 2019, and the early hours of the morning of the 1st of August. He was also pepper-sprayed after he left a club.

David Salter, Senior Coroner, stated that there were two instances outside of clubs in which some members were pepper-sprayed. However, based on evidence I heard this seems to have been unprovoked.

Cpl Lovatt was helped to his room at the City Comfort Hotel in Warsaw (general view pictured) the night of his death

 Cpl Lovatt was helped to his room at the City Comfort Hotel in Warsaw (general view pictured) the night of his death

“Cpl. Lovatt received pepper spray during the second incident. He returned to the hotel with a colleague, who drove him to his bedroom.

He was put to sleep by a soldier from Warsaw’s City Comfort Hotel. But he died unwitnessed after falling accidentally from the balcony.

It was impossible to prove that this was an intention or in any other suspicious circumstances.

According to the inquest, there was an alcohol restriction of ‘two cans’ during the deployment. This rule was thought to be ‘fairly restrictive.

Oxford Coroner’s Court heard that the facilities of camp left much to be desired, and that morale was low.

To prevent further deaths, the Coroner gave the Ministry of Defence an opinion indicating that the Military Policy on Alcohol was too restrictive and led to binging by soldiers while they were not at duty.

Salter explained that the deployment seemed to fall somewhere between an operational tour or being normalized.

“This appears to have resulted in a systemic issue with respect to understanding and following the policy.

“It’s possible that an alcohol restriction and bad base conditions might cause excessive/binge-drinking on such a trip.

“Rather than tightening policy, it’s possible to have less restrictive base conditions.

However you view the above, it doesn’t matter if there is a four or two can rule. An important safeguard is for soldiers, usually NCOs, to be named as shark watches and to keep sober and alert.

The facilities at the camp 'left a lot to be desired and morale was not high', Oxford Coroner's Court (general view pictured) was told

According to Oxford Coroner’s Court (general views pictured), the facilities of the camp “left much to be desired” and that morale was low.

“It’s a common and widely-known concept.

“It is unclear to me whether there is a formalized policy. The system could operate in different ways depending on where it is located and who the employees are.

The system was not effective in this instance because the shark-watch nominee did not know he had been chosen.

The evidence of others who testified was not clear on the requirements or existence of this system.

“In summary, I am concerned that Operation Cabrit doesn’t have a real, practical, or well-understood policy regarding alcohol. Furthermore, shark watches are not being given more prominence.

According to a spokesperson from the MoD, “The health and wellbeing of our personnel is paramount. That is why commanders give extensive guidance in order for personnel to make informed decisions.”

“In addition, to providing treatment for serious alcohol misusers, all three Services are creating holistic programmes that will help people live a healthy lifestyle.

Cpl. Ryan Lovatt died on March 31, and his family issued the following statement.

“We wouldn’t have imagined that he would be injured on such a large-scale deployment.”