After a deployment in Afghanistan, a British soldier commits suicide.
An inquest heard that a British soldier committed suicide after a tour in Afghanistan took an unrelenting toll on his mental health.
Sgt James Byrne, 29, had been a member of the 1st Battalion of the First Fusiliers for over 11 years when he developed PTSD after seeing violence in Afghanistan. Sgt Byrne was placed on the Severe Mental Health Register this year, according to an investigation into his death.
On May 12, his body was discovered near a wooded area near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
An inquest into the soldier’s death, held yesterday at Bradford Coroner’s Court, heard that he was a “excellent soldier and leader” as well as a “fiercely dedicated serviceman.”
Sgt Byrne had left a touching goodbye note for his friends and had transmitted a pin-drop identification of his whereabouts to a colleague.
According to Yorkshire Live, his body was discovered after a search by West Yorkshire Police officers, Mountain Rescue Service members, and Army members.
The soldier, from Huddersfield, had attempted suicide in March and was depressed, as well as grieving over his grandmother’s death, according to the inquest.
He also had financial difficulties, which necessitated a loan from the Army.
“It’s apparent that Sgt Byrne’s Army colleagues have exhibited a tremendous level of care for Sgt Byrne,” said Angela Brocklehurst, Assistant Coroner for Yorkshire.
“It’s apparent that a lot of work has gone into finding him and supporting him during these trying times. That is something I believe should be mentioned.
“It’s evident that James was observed during periods of ill health, when he was struggling with debt he had gotten himself into, and when he was experiencing loneliness, melancholy, drinking issues, and the loss of his grandmother.
“None of us have any idea what goes on inside a person’s head.”
The coroner expressed his heartfelt condolences to the outstanding boxer’s mother Elizabeth Stansfield, stepfather Michael Stansfield, and father Martin Byrne, saying, “I convey my deepest sympathy to the family on your awful loss.”
“It’s a difficult grief to bear, and you’ll be dealing with it for a long time.
“Please carry with you a sense of pride in your son for the incredible man he was, not only in the ring, but also in earning the respect of those around him and in the service he has rendered to this country.”