Two Household Cavalry troopers accused of racially abusing Northern Irish soldier are cleared
- Troopers Maxwell Nicholls, Declan Coutts cleared of ‘bullying’ their roommate
- They allegedly made IRA slurs to their Northern Irish roommate Scott Alexander
- The pair told the court it was simply ‘boisterous banter’ and ‘rough and tumble’
Two Household Cavalry soldiers have been cleared of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague after claiming jokes about him being an IRA terrorist were just ‘boisterous banter’.
Troopers Maxwell Nicholls and Declan Coutts were also acquitted of attacking a Muslim colleague in the esteemed regiment which is traditionally responsible for guarding the Queen.
The pair admitted calling Trooper Scott Alexander ‘Gerry Adams’ and ‘terrorist’ and making IRA jibes but said these types of jokes were part of their regiment’s culture.
Troopers Declan Coutts (right) and Maxwell Nicholls (left) have been cleared of racially abusing their Northern Irish colleague after claiming jokes about him being an IRA terrorist were just ‘boisterous banter’
Tpr Alexander, their young roommate, told a court martial he felt ‘demoralised’ and was subjected to pranks and physical attacks including choke-holds.
But the pair denied carrying out ‘malicious’ attacks, with Tpr Nicholls claiming it was part of ‘rough and tumble’ Army life and Tpr Coutts saying Tpr Alexander ‘was good at dishing it out but not taking it’.
Best friends Tpr Nicholls, 22, and Tpr Coutts, 24, were cleared of racially abusing Tpr Alexander and attacking Muslim colleague Tpr Azaan Aziz-Sheikh.
Tpr Nicholls told Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire it was ‘rough and tumble’ and Tpr Coutts said Tpr Alexander (pictured) was ‘good at dishing it out but not the best at taking it’
All four soldiers were trainees with the historic Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in Windsor, one of the most senior in the Army.
As the board delivered not guilty verdicts to all nine charges at Bulford Military Court, Wilts, Tpr Nicholls and Tpr Coutts stood side by side in uniform with their arms by their sides and kept blank faces.
After the board left the courtroom, they turned to each other, smiled, Tpr Coutts said ‘phew’ and they remarked how their hands were shaking.
Tpr Nicholls and Tpr Coutts were both cleared of racially aggravated battery, regular battery, and a conduct charge related to their behaviour towards Tpr Alexander.
Tpr Nicholls was cleared of two counts of battery on Tpr Aziz-Sheikh while Tpr Coutts was cleared of one count of battery on the same soldier.
It was alleged he made derogatory references to ‘Mashallah’ as he shoved Trooper Azaan Aziz-Sheikh (pictured) in the head while at a pub on October 30, Bulford Military Court heard