Posted on February 12, 2019
The alleged name-calling took place at Abercorn Barracks in Ballykinler, County Down, where Lance Corporal James Ross and Rifleman Darren Mitchell took their own lives in December 2012 and February 2013. Both soldiers were members of 2 RIFLES and had completed tours of Afghanistan.
An inquest into both deaths is being held in Ballymena, County Antrim, and heard from a friend of Rifleman Mitchell via video link from Leeds. He has been granted anonymity and is referred to during court proceedings as Soldier D. Soldier D was one of three people who found Rifleman Mitchell dead in his room and he was also one of several soldiers who self-harmed during that period. He described finding Rifleman Mitchell dead as “heart-breaking”.
On two occasions the three soldiers were sent for a week to a barracks in Lisburn to help them cope. However, Soldier D said one officer accused the trio of “bluffing” and using the trips to get out of work. He added that the officer also made “sly comments” whilst they were out on parade and other soldiers laughed.
Karen Quinlivan QC, counsel for the Mitchell and Ross families, asked Soldier D how it had made him feel: “Horrible,” he replied. “They were meant to be there to help you, and talk to, when they are doing that, there is no one to talk to”. He also described how another officer had called him a “selfish dick” in the Guardroom after he had self-harmed.