`Bullied' soldier had nervous breakdown

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A young second lieutenant suffered three nervous breakdowns and attempted suicide after being bullied by fellow officers in the Royal Horse Artillery, the High Court was told yesterday.

On one occasion, Alastair Green, 19, was strapped naked over a ceremonial cannon, had "beer and worse" poured over him and was left with a rose between his buttocks, said his counsel, Sydney Kentridge QC.

He also claims he was sexually assaulted by a fellow officer.

The ordeal suffered by Mr Green at Aldershot barracks in Hampshire 10 years ago led to psychiatric breakdowns which "altered, and in some respects ruined, his life", Mr Kentridge told Mr Justice Popplewell.

His treatment was the cause of, or the trigger for, his subsequent psychosis".

Mr Green, now 29, and teaching in Japan, is suing the Ministry of Defence and 10 officers for damages for psychological injuries and loss of career prospects. The MoD denies failing to maintain adequate discipline and the defendants deny involvement in any of the alleged incidents.

Mr Green joined the 7th Regiment of the RHA, part of the airborne division in which soldiers graduate to wear the red beret, on a short-service limited commission in March 1985 after a rigorous selection process and was by no means lacking in toughness and stamina.

In the officers' mess he became the butt of so-called jokes, said Mr Kentridge. He was called a "crap hat", because he was still wearing a black beret.

"But he was in addition given his own nickname, "Ten-Inch", a sarcastic reference to his genitals, which seemed to be a subject which obsessed a number of the other officers."

The hearing was adjourned until today.