If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Hanged Corporal was insulted on Facebook inquest hears
A STREAM of abuse on Facebook left a Royal Military Police officer “deeply upset”, an inquest heard.
Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement, who was based at Kiwi Barracks in Bulford, was found hanged on October 9, 2011. An inquest into her death, which began at Salisbury Coroners Court earlier this month, heard abusive messages about Cpl Ellement were made by junior and senior colleagues on Facebook.
Staff Sergeant Julian Clark, who was directly above Cpl Ellement in the chain of command, posted a status about having to “waste his time” correcting case files on a Sunday.
Several witnesses have told the hearing that the comment was clearly directed at Cpl Ellement and that numerous insulting comments were posted afterwards, including “elephant” and “mong”.
Cpl Ellement’s close friend, former Lance Corporal Rachael Percival, said: “She was deeply upset. I’ve never, ever seen anyone so upset than I did when that went on.”
“She got so upset to the point where she couldn’t talk,” she added.
But Staff Sgt Clark said the comment was general and not aimed at Cpl Ellement.
He said he couldn’t recollect how many subsequent comments there were or what they said and that he didn’t insult Cpl Ellement. “I regret every single day writing what I wrote on Facebook, every single day. I can honestly say I never mentioned her and I never mentioned a particular file.”
“I regret writing it but I did it in a moment of frustration,” he added.
Cpl Ellement’s family said she mentioned Staff Sgt Clark as one of the senior officers who “victimised and belittled” her.
Her mother, Alexandra Barritt, said: “Anne-Marie said you gave her a particularly hard time compared with other junior ranks and also suggest you appeared to enjoy disciplining her. She told me you belittled her and made her feel worthless.”
Staff Sgt said: “I liked Anne-Marie; I respected her I really did.”
He added: “I never victimised your daughter, I never victimised her. I am truly sorry for what happened, I really am.”
The coroner is expected to return his conclusions on Monday.