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Not guilty Soldiers accused of racially abusing Northern Irish colleague by calling him 'Gerry Adams' are cleared

'I can appreciate that jokes about the IRA can be deeply offensive but if someone from that heritage is making those jokes then it can be played with'

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Two Household Cavalry soldiers who had been accused of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague by calling him “Gerry Adams” have been cleared

Two Household Cavalry soldiers who had been accused of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague by calling him “Gerry Adams” have been cleared

Two Household Cavalry soldiers who had been accused of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague by calling him “Gerry Adams” have been cleared

Two Household Cavalry soldiers who had been accused of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague by calling him “Gerry Adams” and “terrorist” and making IRA jibes have been cleared at a court martial. 

Troopers Maxwell Nicholls and Declan Coutts of the esteemed regiment which is traditionally responsible for guarding the Queen were also acquitted of attacking a Muslim member of the unit.

Trooper Scott Alexander, their young roommate, told a court martial he felt demoralised by what he perceived as verbal abuse and claimed he was also the victim of physical attacks and pranks.

The pair admitted calling making the Irish references to Tpr Alexander but denied carrying out “malicious' attacks”.

Tpr Nicholls claimed it was part of “rough and tumble” Army life while Tpr Coutts said Tpr Alexander “was good at dishing it out but not taking it”.

Nicholls had told the court: “We never assaulted him. We had boisterous banter.”

Coutts said Alexander made jokes about himself and the IRA, adding: “I can appreciate that jokes about the IRA can be deeply offensive but if someone from that heritage is making those jokes then it can be played with.”

The pair, who were trainees at the time of the incidents in 2020, were also cleared of attacking Azaan Aziz-Sheikh, after a night out in Windsor.

All four soldiers were trainees with the historic Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in Windsor, one of the most senior in the Army.

After the board delivered not guilty verdicts to all nine charges at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, Tpr Nicholls and Tpr Coutts left the courtroom, turned to each other and smiled.

Tpr Coutts said “phew” and they remarked how their hands were shaking.

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