Brother’s death inspires ex-soldier
A former soldier Called to the Bar yesterday said he was impelled to become a lawyer after his Royal Bermuda Regiment brother was killed on duty in a car crash in Britain.
Julian Wheddon said his family felt helpless and lacked a sense of closure after the court case six years ago against the British soldier at the wheel of the vehicle when Major Christian Wheddon died was called off when the driver admitted causing death by careless driving.
Mr Wheddon, 44, pursued a career in law to prevent himself, and his family from having to go through a similar experience again.
He said: “The circumstances of the Crown Prosecution Service case led them to dropping their case on the morning of the trial and accepting a plea.
“When we were informed, the family had a sense of helplessness and despair, we never really had the opportunity to find out what happened.
“That was the catalyst that made me vow not to allow myself or anyone in my family to be put in that situation again.”
Major Wheddon, a 43-year-old father of one, was a passenger in a Mitsubishi Warrior 4x4 that crashed on the A34 in Oxfordshire in September 2012.
Driver Netani Kepa was at first charged with causing death by dangerous driving and pleaded not guilty.
But he later admitted the reduced charge of causing Major Wheddon’s death by careless driving.
Mr Wheddon said yesterday: “We were never wanting to see the guy punished or dragged over the coals.”
But he added: “Because the plea was accepted there was no trial and therefore no closure in that regard.”
Mr Wheddon, from St George’s, served in the British Army for nine years and left in 2007.
He returned to Bermuda and joined the RBR and was serving as a training officer when he left in 2012.
Mr Wheddon worked as a financial adviser before he began his legal studies in London and Bristol in the UK.
He is employed in corporate law at insurance firm Argus where he has learnt from George Jones, the group’s general counsel and a family friend.
Mr Wheddon was admitted to practise yesterday in a ceremony at the Supreme Court in front of family and friends — including his parents David and Margaret, brother Mark, sister Kim and girlfriend Julia Stephens.
Major Wheddon first joined the Bermuda Regiment in 1987, but later moved to the UK for education reasons.
He served in the Bermuda Police from 1997 until 2004 and left with the rank of Sergeant.
Major Wheddon was the Adjutant at the regiment between 2004 and 2008, and aide-de-camp for the Governor between 2008 and 2011 and was expected to take over as commanding officer.
He died while in the UK for final command training, including the British Army command training course, and served as part of the massive military security operation for the 2012 London Olympics.