Corporal Ellement’s death casts a shadow over the Army

Authorities must ensure that something like this never happens again

Share

The death of Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement is not only a tragedy in itself, it is also a grim insight into the worst aspects of Army culture.

The 30-year-old military policewoman was found hanged at Bulford Barracks in October 2011. Yesterday, an inquest ruled that the continuing effects of an alleged rape which Army investigators decided not to prosecute, and the bullying that resulted, were both factors in the suicide. Indeed, the coroner is recommending that the Ministry of Defence conduct a review of its welfare policies.

Quite right. The details of the case are a catalogue of failures. After the corporal claimed that she had been raped by two other soldiers while on a posting in Germany, and the military authorities had ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring charges, Cpl Ellement remained in the same barracks, accommodation that she shared with the girlfriend of one of the alleged attackers. The result was systematic bullying from colleagues who claimed that she had “cried rape” and broken the regiment’s code of silence. Then, although the corporal was placed on a suicide-risk register while in Germany, when she was transferred back to Britain, the information was not passed on – an oversight the coroner described yesterday as “unforgivably bad”.

Cpl Ellement’s family expressed relief at yesterday’s verdict and its confirmation that “Anne-Marie was treated appallingly and let down by the Army”. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence has apologised and vowed to “learn lessons” from the failures identified by the coroner. But the matter does not end here. This is not the first time that questions have been raised about the treatment of soldiers who make complaints. Nor is it the first glimpse of a culture of bullying, abuse and sexual harassment (and worse) in Britain’s armed forces, or of official attempts to keep such matters out of the public eye.

There is no way to make amends for the death of Cpl Ellement. But at the very least the authorities can ensure that it never happens again. More than a decade after the unexplained deaths of four recruits at Deepcut Barracks, also amid claims of bullying, the military has still not satisfactorily tackled the problem. Now it must.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£120 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: The Humanities Department of this ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Music Teacher

£120 - £180 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Newham Position: Music Start dat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Sutton Position: Science teacher S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A residential tower block in an area of Southwark with a high concentration of social housing  

We desperately need to solve our housing crisis, but rent controls are not the answer

Mira Bar Hillel
Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras  

Syriza's victory in Greece might not be the radical revolution you were hoping for

James Bloodworth
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee