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Barrack death inquest hears from ex-boyfriend
A ROYAL military police officer found out her former boyfriend was in a new relationship on the day she hanged herself, an inquest heard.
Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement was found hanged from a fire escape at Kiwi Barracks in Bulford on October 9, 2011.
The inquest at Salisbury Coroners Court, which began last Monday, heard Cpl Ellement moved to Bulford in March 2010 after she reported being raped by two soldiers while she was based in Germany in November 2009.
Cpl Ellement, 30, began a relationship with Lance Corporal Robert Neal on September 11, 2011, but he decided to end it a short while later, on September 23, as he “wasn’t sure what he wanted” after recently breaking up with his fiancée.
He told the hearing on Monday that Cpl Ellement was initially upset but the pair agreed to remain friends as they were in the same band.
L/Cpl Neal, who was 22 at the time, said Cpl Ellement often complained to him about being overworked and being bullied by senior staff.
She had also told him about the rape allegation.
“She didn’t tell me the specifics, she just told me it had happened,” he said. “She would get upset; she would cry.”
But he added: “Most of the time she was happy. If she didn't talk to me about any of it, I would never have known.”
On the morning of October 9, Cpl Ellement saw on Facebook that L/Cpl Neal was in a relationship with another woman.
Cpl Ellement exchanged about 40 text messages with L/Cpl Neal that day, and she told him she felt betrayed and that he had “broken her heart”.
“Obviously I wanted to tell her,” said L/Cpl Neal. “She saw it all over Facebook and immediately thought I had been seeing her the whole time, which was not actually correct.”
“I tried to reassure her nothing had changed friendship-wise,” he added. “I was still confused.”
The inquest also heard from Major David Dray, who was in charge of Cpl Ellement’s company in Germany. He told the hearing of a chance meeting with Cpl Ellement, who told him she was being bullied by other female soldiers following the rape allegation. Major Dray referred the matter to the Special Investigation Branch and said he was “genuinely shocked” when he was informed it wouldn’t be investigated.
He asked for an internal inquiry to be held, but the women involved denied bullying and he said he couldn’t take it any further as Cpl Ellement hadn’t lodged an official complaint.
Major Dray was also questioned about his decision not to separate the women, who shared the same accommodation.
He said: “To move her (Cpl Ellement) would be seen to be ostracising her from everybody else,” he said.
“To move other females could also be deemed as victimisation and I didn’t want to do that.
He added that although there was a shortage of accommodation, with hindsight he should have arranged a meeting with Cpl Ellement to see what she wanted.
The inquest is the second to be held into Cpl Ellement’s death after her family won a judicial review to hear all the evidence.
The hearing continues.