Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement inquest: MOD denies 'cover-up' after new evidence emerges at the last minute

Her sister said Anne-Marie was "devastated" when military investigators decided not to prosecute the men who allegedly raped her

The family of a military police officer who was found hanging at her barracks after she accused two soldiers of rape accused the Ministry of Defence of a potential “cover-up” yesterday following the last-minute disclosure of new evidence to her inquest.

The coroner presiding over the three-week hearing into the death in 2011 of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement had been due to deliver his verdict but ordered a week-long adjournment after lawyers for the Army revealed an inventory listing documents and items - including three mobile phones and a personal diary - had been found in recent days.

Neither the phones nor the diary, which military investigators noted contained one page which would be “sensitive and upsetting”, were produced at the inquest or shown to relatives who attended. In total, 1,400 previously unseen files will now be disclosed to Cpl Ellement’s family for the first time.

A lawyer for the MoD insisted the omission of the material had been accidental and said it had gone to “exceptional lengths” to disclose all material relevant to the death of Cpl Ellement, who it is claimed was bullied after she made the complaint of rape while posted in Germany in 2009. Military investigators declined to bring charges.

Speaking after the hearing in Salisbury, Cpl Ellement’s sister, Khristina Swain, said: “I’m so angry and so upset after waiting all this time to get where we are, to find out we haven’t had all the information and documents we actually need - I’m just absolutely devastated.

“Why haven’t we been told this stuff? Why has it been held? We just want the truth, that’s all. In my eyes, I feel there could be a cover-up.”

The inquest is the second to be heard into the death of the 30-year-old soldier after her family won a rare High Court ruling quashing the original verdict following a complaint that the circumstances behind her death had not been fully considered.

The document listing the undisclosed material was discovered by Army lawyers last week, after all witnesses had finished giving their testimony.

The court heard that it was thought the mobile phones and diary, which were found in Cpl Ellement’s room following her death at Bulford Barracks near Salisbury, may have been released to her father, who is estranged from other family members.

Nicholas Rheinberg, the deputy coroner for Swindon and Wiltshire, said he wanted “all urgency” applied to efforts to try to find any missing items or documents. He added that there was also a “danger” in seeking information which it might be “unrealistic to find”.

The MoD said that much of the new material was not related to the circumstances of Cpl Ellement’s death and was linked to her own casework as an officer in the Royal Military Police (RMP). But the court heard that 29 of the files had been deemed relevant to the inquest, including a note of an interview she had been due to attend the day after her death in October 2011.

The body of Cpl Ellement was found hanging in her room after she had written “I’m sorry” in lipstick on a mirror. The inquest heard that the young soldier had complained of a campaign to isolate and intimidate her after she made the complaint that she had been raped following a night out in Germany in 2009.

When a subsequent RMP investigation found insufficient grounds to bring charges, Cpl Ellement was “absolutely devastated” and began to face taunts that she had “cried rape”, the inquest heard. A box of crickets was released into her room and on another occasion a soldier was reprimanded for discussing the allegations in front of others.

A female colleague, who had been the girlfriend of one of the accused soldiers and was alleged to have directed a campaign against Cpl Ellement after she returned to Britain, said she had no recollection of vowing to make her life “hell”, nor of calling her a “slag” and a “liar”. But the soldier admitted she had “possibly” used the words in anger.

Sharon Hardy, 44, who is Cpl Ellement’s second sister, told the inquest: “When she died, my immediate thoughts were the Army, the rape, the bullying and the overwork.”

Nicholas Moss, the lawyer representing the MoD at the inquest, said there was “no evidence of a cover-up” in the late production of the undisclosed material.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details.

Read more: Rape-claim corporal found hanged two years after she accused two soldiers, inquest told
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas