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Inquest into death of PTSD-sufferer Jamie Davis

Jamie Davis played for East Dorset RFC
Jamie Davis played for East Dorset RFC

AN ARMY veteran suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from seeing a comrade killed in Afghanistan took his own life, an inquest heard.

As reported in the A&T, veteran Jamie Davis (30) was found hanged at Testwood recreation ground in Totton on 11th January.

He had gone missing from his home in Christchurch the previous day after sending a concerning text message to his wife Alicia.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Davis, a well-known rugby player in the area and a member of East Dorset RFC, had been suffering from severe PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) after tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq as a rifleman with 4 Rifles Battalion.

Mrs Davis told the online hearing that her husband experienced night terrors after seeing his section commander killed on a tour of Afghanistan in an incident which left Mr Davis with shrapnel wounds to his arm and knee.

Mrs Davis said: “He was ashamed of his PTSD and the effect it had on our family. He didn’t like people knowing he had a weakness.”

She added that Mr Davis also felt “riddled with guilt” that another friend had died carrying out his role while he was on a period of rest and recuperation.

She said: “Jamie was one of those people with a huge heart. He’d do anything for anybody – you couldn’t help but love him.”

The inquest heard how Mr Davis sought medical help for his condition via a veteran’s mental health group and was referred to Dorset Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in October 2018.

He attended two appointments in November and explained he suffered from low mood, anger and nightmares.

He told the nurse he had “fleeting thoughts” several times a week that he would be better off dead, but said he had taken no steps to end his life. He was deemed a low risk.

Due to being unable to take time off work, Mr Davis missed four subsequent appointments with the mental health team and received a letter explaining he was being discharged from the service.

Mrs Davis said that after receiving the letter, and being told he could not join the Territorial Army because of the injuries sustained on tour and to his knee in a rugby match, he “just gave up”.

The inquest heard that as a child he dreamed of joining the Army, and signed up at 16. He left in 2015 and hoped to join the Special Boat Services but was worried a diagnosis of PTSD would hold him back.

Mrs Davis said learning he could not join the Territorial Army because of his injuries “really tore him up”.

Coroner Jason Pegg reached a conclusion that Mr Davis took his own life. He said: “It is very sad that Jamie was ashamed of his PTSD, a consequence of his honourable service for his country.”

He added it must have been “soul destroying” to be told he could not join the Territorial Army.

The inquest heard that following his funeral, which was attended by around 500 people, four of Mr Davis’s former colleagues had come forward to say they were also suffering from PTSD.

Mr Pegg said it was “good to hear” others had sought help following his death.

A fundraiser set up in Jamie’s memory has raised more than £8,000. To donate visit www.gofundme.com/f/jamie-davis-memorial-fund

If you have been affected by any issues raised in the article, contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

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