Army probes soldier bullying claim
The Army is investigating allegations that a soldier who killed herself was bullied after accusing two colleagues of rape.
Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, 30, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, was found hanged at Bulford Barracks in Wiltshire on October 9 last year. She had alleged that she was raped by two fellow Royal Military Police (RMP) soldiers while she was drunk.
Her complaint was investigated by the RMP's Special Investigations Branch, but prosecutors decided not to bring charges.
Cpl Ellement was branded a liar by colleagues after she made the allegations, her sister Sharon Hardy said. The soldier described her anguish in an email to a friend: "Hardly anyone is talking to me. Like id make up something that is this bad destroying my career, and losing all my friends."
Mrs Hardy alleged that the RMP "failed in their duty of care" to her sister, telling the Times: "Anne-Marie was made out to be a liar by other soldiers serving in the camp. In my opinion Anne-Marie never recovered. No one believed her and her friends in the Army had turned on her, thinking she was making it up."
Cpl Ellement's mother Alexandra Barritt told the paper: "They brushed it under the carpet. Anne-Marie told me how upset she was. She was a strong girl but they broke her in the end."
An inquest in Salisbury last month recorded a verdict of suicide.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with the family of Cpl Ellement at this difficult time. The rape allegation was investigated at the time by the Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch, with the findings passed on to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA). The SPA directed that no charges should be brought.
"The circumstances surrounding Cpl Ellement's death were also investigated by Wiltshire Police and by Her Majesty's coroner. Prior to Cpl Ellement's death, she received extensive support from the Army, which continued up until her death.
"All allegations, no matter what their nature, are investigated. The Army has a zero tolerance policy to bullying and harassment of its personnel and takes these matters extremely seriously."