Fresh inquest into hanged officer who accused her two colleagues of rape
Wednesday 08 August 2012
A fresh inquest has been ordered into the death of a military police officer who was found hanged after accusing two colleagues of rape, her family's lawyers said today.
Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, 30, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, was found hanged at Bulford Barracks in Wiltshire on 9 October last year.
An inquest in Salisbury in March recorded a verdict of suicide, but the High Court has ordered a fresh hearing following an application for judicial review by her sisters, their legal team at the civil rights group Liberty said.
A fresh, fuller inquest was necessary to examine the context of her death properly, lawyers said. No date has yet been set.
Emma Norton, Liberty's lawyer who is representing the family, said: "Anne-Marie had a long family tradition and devoted her life to service in the armed forces. They all appear to have been very badly let down.
"Whether a soldier or a civilian, your human rights must be protected and upheld.
"Liberty hopes that the new inquest will finally uncover what happened to Anne-Marie - she deserves justice and her family deserves answers."
Cpl Ellement was branded a liar by colleagues after she made the allegations, her sister Sharon Hardy has said.
She had alleged that she was raped by two fellow Royal Military Police (RMP) soldiers while she was drunk.
Her complaint was investigated by the RMP's Special Investigations Branch, but prosecutors decided not to bring charges.
The soldier described her anguish in an email to a friend: "Hardly anyone is talking to me. Like id make up something that is this bad destroying my career, and losing all my friends."
Mrs Hardy alleged that the RMP "failed in their duty of care" to her sister.
Ms Hardy said: "Anne-Marie had the right to be protected in the Army when she claimed she was raped, she had the right to have been given the correct duty of care from the Army whilst serving and she had the right to a proper and thorough investigation by Wiltshire Police and the coroner into the circumstances that led up to her death.
"Questions that, as a family, we hoped we would have answers to were never raised or disclosed at the original inquest.
"We have the right to these answers and if bringing another inquest provides us with them and brings justice for Anne-Marie then, with the support of Liberty, Anne-Marie will not have died in vain and valuable lessons will be learned."
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