UK

RAF Firefighter's Parents To Ask For Fresh Inquest Into His Death

Robert Fleeting was 24 years old when he was found dead in his bedroom at RAF Benson in 2011.

The parents of a Royal Air Force firefighter found dead at an air base in 2011 are to meet with the Chief Coroner in a bid to get a fresh investigation into their son's death.

An inquest ruled that Robert Fleeting's death was a suicide, but his family are unconvinced that he took his own life.

Robert was discovered in his bedroom in September 2011 at RAF Benson, in Oxfordshire, after a night out.

"He was destined to join the military and he eventually joined the Royal Air Force as a fireman," Charlie Fleeting, Robert's father said.

He was always a "happy" person, his mother, Susan, added.

"We thought: 'His life's starting now and the RAF will always look after him'," she said.

The 'Justice For Robert' campaign has been going for nearly a decade and the aim is for a fresh investigation to be launched.

At the time of his death Robert was 24 years old, and his father told Forces News that Robert "was living his dream".

"Unfortunately, his dream became our nightmare," Charlie explained.

"I think there was foul play.

"He had far too much to live for. He wanted to be married and he wanted to have kids.

"He wanted to settle down - he had a big picture, he know what he was wanting in life.

"I don't believe for a minute it was suicide."

Robert Fleeting in firefighter uniform 160720 CREDIT family picture.jpg
Robert was 24 years old at the time of his death (Picture: Fleeting family).

Susan told Forces News she thinks the "whole system falls down when it comes to a death within a military base".

"If someone dies and it's civvy street, the police have got a protocol to follow," she said.

"When it comes to a military base, that all falls by the wayside."

The meeting with the Chief Coroner is expected to take place later this year.

"He has to meet with us and listen and understand the problems that arise when a death occurs with the military," Susan said.

"There's nobody checking up on anybody."

A fresh inquest is "the goal", Charlie said.

"That's our aim, is to get a fresh inquest to find exactly what happened to Robert on that base."

Robert Fleeting (centre) with his mother Susan and father Charlie CREDIT FLEETING FAMILY
Robert's parents say their son wanted to get married and have a family of his own (Picture: Fleeting family).

Mr and Mrs Fleeting also hope a fresh inquest into the death of their son will give them some closure.

"To know what happened to Robert... would mean then, as a mum I can grieve for him," Susan said.

"I would then know why I don't have him."

A Thames Valley Police spokesman told Forces News: "A review of the investigation into the death of Robert Fleeting was conducted by a senior officer from the force’s Major Crime Unit and this review concluded that there was no evidence to show his death was caused through a third party.

"The coronial inquest determined that that Mr Fleeting took his own life.

"The thoughts of Thames Valley Police remain with Mr Fleeting’s family."

The Royal Air Force referred to a previous spokesperson statement which said: "Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of SAC Robert Fleeting.

"The RAF has co-operated fully with the police investigations and inquest into SAC Fleeting’s death, both the investigations and the inquest concluded that the cause of death was suicide by hanging and no other person was involved."