Afghan veteran and father of three took his own life after his repeated cries for help were ignored


A coroner has delivered damning criticism of the Ministry of Defence and mental health services after an Afghan veteran and father of three took his own life after his repeated cries for help were ignored.

Jonathan Cole, 39, was a bubbly, popular figure before taking part in a tragic tour of duty to Afghanistan with his 2Rifles Regiment in 2009.

He suffered hearing loss and shrapnel wounds in a rocket propelled grenade attack on his base, but days earlier he had the terrible task of collecting the body parts of five comrades blown to pieces in an IED attack.

On his return to the UK for treatment, he was unrecognizable to his wife Teresa, and began self-harming and drinking excessively. DailyMail reports.

She suffered an assault and he also attack a police officer leading to him being disciplined by his regiment.

But despite his worsening mental health and two suicide attempts, an army doctor would not class him as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something Chesterfield’s Assistant Coroner Sophie Cartwright described as an ‘obvious error’ and ‘missed opportunity’.

Speaking after a lengthy narrative verdict was delivered, his widow Teresa, and mother to two of his children, said: ‘Before he went to Afghanistan, he was bubbly and everyone loved him. He was always the first man at the bar buying everyone a drink and he loved life and his kids were his priority.

‘But after Afghanistan he was totally failed by everyone. It was failure, failure, failure.

‘The army gave him eight sessions of EDMR which is a treatment for PTSD but when he was medically discharged they wouldn’t give him the diagnosis.

‘Without the diagnosis he got no recognition of what had happened to him. It had a major impact on our marriage that came to an end.’

Per DailyMail, the coroner described the care offered to Mr Cole by the army as ‘inadequate’, pointing out that the NHS recommend eight to 11 EDMR sessions for each episode of trauma suffered and he had at least three separate incidents to process.

On his discharge from the army, Mr Cole’s mental health grew worse.

He went missing in 2014 while working as a lorry driver sparking a hunt by Interpol and the coroner referred to multiple suicide attempts.

She said that unlike many veterans, he did seek help but was failed at every stage.

Two months before he ended his life in August 2018 he had emailed the Veterans UK charity stating: ‘I am writing to ask if you could look into why I did not have PTSD added to my medical discharge.’

He referred to his EMDR treatment and said he continued to suffer anxiety attacks and been in hospital after taking overdoses.

Despite attaching his medical notes, the charity never responded to him.

The coroner said: ‘In my judgement his concerns about the lack of acknowledgement for his PTSD contributed to his death. One can only imagine the frustration of a veteran in this position.’

She also took aim at the amount of forms he was required to fill in to apply to the Armed Forces for Compensation.

After the hearing, his solicitor Simon Ellis said: ‘These forms are so difficult that many veterans find themselves needing the help of a solicitor to apply. It should not be like that.

The inquest heard that in early 2018 he had been given a care plan which included a requirement to be referred for psychological help but they were ‘not accepting referrals’ at the time.

They were further criticized for not taking the threat of suicide seriously enough when he met with a community psychiatric nurse and complained that his medication was not working days before his death.

The inquest heard that a month before his death, he was arrested for criminal damage after an argument with a neighbour.

Police witnessed him self-harming while in custody.

The day before his death, he should have appeared at magistrates’ court to answer charges but he did not show and his body was found in a Derbyshire park the next day.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.


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