Suicide verdict on returned Marine
A coroner investigating the death of a Royal Marine who took his own life after returning from service in Afghanistan said the force did "all they could" to support their troops.
Dylan Kemp, a 28-year-old member of 42 Commando Royal Marines, was found dead in his flat in Croydon, south London, in September 2009, five months after the end of his tour.
Coroner Roy Palmer recorded a verdict of suicide at the inquest at Croydon Coroner's Court.
He said: "I'm also satisfied that the Royal Marines did all they could do to support their troops."
Marine Kemp's girlfriend, Philippa Roscoe, told the inquest in November that he had shown her photographs of human remains and said he had bagged up body parts during his service. But Dr Palmer concluded that Marine Kemp did not actually see or experience the incidents himself.
"His family and Ms Roscoe were understandably concerned about the images and the impact they would have had on Dylan Kemp," he said. He went on: "I accept the evidence of the Royal Marines that he did not witness the scenes with his own eyes." He added that "one wonders why he thought it necessary or appropriate to send those photos to loved ones".
Kate Bex, representing Ms Roscoe, read out a statement on behalf of her client outside court, which said Marine Kemp had written to her about getting married.
She said: "Dylan and I were very much in love and planned a long and happy future together. I am comforted by the blueys I still have from him in which he makes plans for our future wedding and children. I am glad that the inquest has allowed us to learn more about the support that is now in place for Marines returning from active service and how the procedure has been improved. However, Dylan chose to set out in a note how he felt and therefore I very much hope that his words will not be ignored. Dylan will be sorely missed by us all."
She said Marine Kemp's suicide note read: "I just want to say I love all of my family dearly and Philippa, again, I'm sorry and I truly do love you. Please do as much fundraising for Marines that have been to Afghan and end up as messed up as I have. I have too much anger inside me and only want to be there. RM (Royal Marine) staff are excellent so don't let this be a pitfall for them but I slipped through the net and I'm sure many will follow."
Following the verdict, solicitors for Marine Kemp's mother Mary Kemp said she was taking legal advice to highlight "the failings of the system and how her son was let down".