An army officer accused of acting negligently during a live fire exercise that killed a soldier is “highly competent”, a court martial heard.

Lt Col Richard Bell is accused of negligent failings in the organisation of the drill in 2012 that left Ranger Michael Maguire, 21, dead.

Ranger Maguire was shot in the head by a stray bullet at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire.

Capt Jonathan Price, 32, who ran the operation, denies manslaughter.

Giving evidence at the court martial, at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire, retired Gen Sir Adrian Bradshaw said he “completely trusts” Lt Col Bell, 45, and that he is “exceptional”.

Also giving evidence at the hearing, Maj William Marr said Lt Col Bell gave Capt Price “sufficient guidance” and had not acted negligently.

Warrant Officer Stuart Pankhurst, 40, of the 1st Battalion Irish Regiment, also denies negligently performing duty.

The case continues.