Dead student’s parents claim military fully to blame for her death

Following the court decision which cleared military personnel of negligent homicide over the death of a young student who fell from a poorly maintained chain-slide on a National Service exercise, the parents of the dead girl have said they plan to open a new case.

The State has already agreed that Ana Rita Lucas’ parents should receive a €200,000 lump sum payment over the tragedy which took place on the mandatory ‘army day’ that sees young adults from all over the country obliged to spend time with the military.

But earlier this week, a court in Vila Nova de Gaia cleared four soldiers of having caused the 18-year-old’s death, even though the Public Ministry had alleged a “total lack of care and attention” in the assembling of the slide.

Now, the parents have spoken with national tabloid Correio da Manhã and said they mean to “open a new case with other defendants so that the Public Ministry can prosecute those who are truly guilty”.

According to the paper, the parents are going after people “in the State, Army and Artillery Regiment”.

“During the investigation concrete proof was revealed that identifies those responsible,” the parents affirmed.

Ana Rita died after the slide – well over 30 years old – snapped while she was using it, sending her crashing from a height of between five and seven metres.

The tragedy happened over four years ago but it has taken this long for Vila Nova de Gaia judges to rule that no-one should be held responsible.

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