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Tragic troops were facing punishment before deaths

By Michael McHugh

Published 12/11/2016

Disciplinary action was taken against two soldiers shortly before they committed suicide, an inquest heard yesterday.
Disciplinary action was taken against two soldiers shortly before they committed suicide, an inquest heard yesterday.

Disciplinary action was taken against two soldiers shortly before they committed suicide, an inquest heard yesterday.

Eight other service personnel self-harmed at Ballykinler Army Barracks in Co Down, and five are still in the Army, an Ministry of Defence (MoD) legal representative disclosed.

Lance Corporal James Ross (30), from Leeds, died in December 2012 and Rifleman Darren Mitchell (20), from London, two months later at the base.

The families of the men, who served in Afghanistan with Second Battalion the Rifles, said they may have had post-traumatic stress disorder in the run-up to their deaths by hanging.

Family barrister Karen Quinlivan added: "Both had concerns about disciplinary actions."

Mr Mitchell received three official warnings, which he was stressed about, she said.

Legal representatives wrangled over whether information relating to the self-harming could be disclosed. Coroner Joe McCrisken ordered the MoD to explain by next week why material should be redacted.

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