Posted on October 16, 2019
Soldier who killed himself did not report mental health issues over career fears , inquest told
A solider who hanged himself near his army camp failed to disclose his mental health issues because he feared it would harm his career, an inquest was told.
Daniel O’Grady, 21, confided in his fellow recruits at Blandford Camp, Dorset, about his psychological troubles, but felt unable to tell senior staff.
He had been taking Modafinil , a prescription only “smart drug”, to treat his sleepiness and improve his cognitive functions, according to fellow trainee and roommate John Milton.
But Mr Milton said that the stimulant sometimes led to “quite an aggressive retaliation”, making him “lose his temper quite easily” at points.
He said: “He questioned his own mental health. I wanted him to open up to members of staff that he could talk to but he was more worried about how it would affect his career. He discussed it with other trainees on the course.
“Dan was taking Modafinil. He said it helped him to be more focused and stay awake but my concern was he had quite an aggressive retaliation to it at certain points. He would lose his temper quite easily and he said he knew it was making him act differently during the course.”
Mr O’Grady had allegedly been assaulted at the camp in October last year and had an argument over a girl with another trainee in a separate incident, Bournemouth Coroners Court heard.
His mother Angela, who is the mayor of Llandudno in North Wales, believed her son was “happy” since he enrolled in the army in March 2018.
She dismissed Mr Milton’s “vindictive” claim, saying her son had never failed an army drugs test.
Mrs O’Grady last spoke with her son on the evening of February 18 when he was said to be “in good spirits”.
His roommates heard him leave his bedroom at around 6am the following morning, but became worried and raised the alarm when he was not present for the 7am inspection.
Mrs O’Grady was asked to alert the police at 10:30am, but the staff sergeant said it was not necessary as Mr O’Grady was likely travelling home to visit her.
His body was found at Black Lane, Blandford on February 20, more than twenty-four hours after he first went missing.
The coroner was told that soldiers are not deemed to be Absent Without Leave until they have been missing for at least 48 hours.
The inquest continues.