Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Gibraltar Coroner set to preside over CBF Inquest

Commodore David White OBE - former Commander British Forces Gibraltar who committed suicide in January 2005An inquest is due to start at the end of this month into the death of Commodore David White OBE, the former Commander British Forces in Gibraltar whose body was found in the pool at his luxurious home in Mount Barbary last January 8.

At the time of his death, Commodore White, 50, had been under investigation for allegedly downloading child pornography after being identified by Operation Ore, Britain’s biggest child pornography inquiry.

According to contemporary reports in the British press, Commodore White had been recalled back the UK to respond to the allegations just hours before he died.

Little detail has since emerged about the circumstances of his death, though foul play was apparently ruled out at an early stage.

A post mortem carried out in Gibraltar by a UK-based forensic pathologist concluded that Commodore White had drowned.

The inquest scheduled for later this month will take place in the Coroner’s Court in Gibraltar and will formally establish the cause of death and the circumstances surrounding it.

At the time his body was discovered, police believed that Commodore White might have been the 33rd suspect in Operation Ore to commit suicide rather than face the disgrace of an investigation and possible prosecution.

Operation Ore closed in on suspects who had been identified through credit card details logged with a US-based pay-per-view website that hosted child pornography. Commodore White was one of several thousand Britons apparently identified in this way.

But since his death, serious flaws have been exposed in the investigation. Many of the accused have argued that their credit card details could have been stolen, or that they accessed the site but only for adult pornographic material.

Commodore White’s death shocked Gibraltar as a whole, and the military community in particular.

He was born in London in 1954. He was brought up in Kent, educated at Eton, and travelled the world for two years before joining the Royal Navy as a Seaman Officer in 1973. He had a long and distinguished career, including a stint as an officer on board the Royal Yacht Britannia.

As a submariner he commanded HMS Torbay during the 1990 Gulf War. He was later Captain 2nd command of Trafalgar Class submarines in 2001 prior to his appointment as Gibraltar’s Commander British Forces on May 7th, 2004.

Commodore White was single and lived alone at his Mount Barbary residence, Mount Road. After his death, a low-key military send-off was held at the Naval Base before his body was repatriated to the UK.

Related Article:

11 January 2005 - Military Chief expresses shock and grief

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