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
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine