UK

Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement Suicide Highlights MoD Failings, Says Coroner

03/03/2014 13:24 GMT | Updated 03/03/2014 13:59 GMT

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has drawn criticism for the way in which it cares for vulnerable soldiers.

A coroner has called on the department to review its procedures after he ruled that bullying, the "lingering" mental effects of an alleged rape, "work-related despair" and a romantic break-up were all factors in the death of a soldier who committed suicide in an Army barracks.

Nicholas Rheinberg concluded that Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement hanged herself at Bulford Barracks in Wiltshire, two years after she alleged that two soldiers raped her while she was stationed in Germany.

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Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement

But Rheinberg said at the inquest in Salisbury that, although the care given to Cpl Ellement in the aftermath of the allegation had been of "high quality", the transfer of information when she returned to the UK had been "unforgivably bad".

He said he would be recommending to the MoD that it review its Suicide Vulnerability Risk Assessment procedures and ensure that medical personnel are regularly given refresher training.

In a statement read outside court, Cpl Ellement's family said they welcomed the coroner's conclusions and recommendations.

Her sister, Sharon Hardy, said: "The family are delighted with this verdict we have today.

"The coroner has confirmed what we have always known - that Anne-Marie was treated appallingly and let down by the Army.

"She was never able to recover from the allegation of rape she made in Germany.

"She then suffered bullying by the Army and was subjected to unacceptable work practices.

"Victims of sexual abuse in the Army need proper support, which the coroner has recognised, and we are delighted with his recommendations."