MoD Changes After Bournemouth Soldier's Death

20 May 2014, 11:01

The Ministry of Defence says it's making changes to the way it supports service personnel, following a Bournemouth soldier's suicide.

It's after an inquest found Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement took her own life at her barracks in 2011, after accusing two colleagues of rape.

The MoD says it is updating it's training and IT system for monitoring soldiers who are 'at risk', as well as introducing 'mental health study days'.

Brigadier John Donnelly, Director of Personal Services said:
“The Army deeply regrets the tragic death of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement and our thoughts remain with her family and friends.

"We are working to make a number of improvements to ensure that the best possible support is in place for our people. We regularly review and update the training that a range of personnel receive, including our Welfare Officers, and are introducing a series of mental health study days so that our guidance is as comprehensive as possible.

"We will also be upgrading the IT system that helps the Armed Forces to manage and monitor those personnel identified as being at risk of mental health issues.
“Many of these changes reflect lessons learned from the inquest. Whilst some will take time to implement, we are committed to getting this right so we can help prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.”

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

But Mr 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.

"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.''