- Ellie Cambridge 5 Sep 2019
Warrant Officer Robert “Rab” McAvoy feared he would be “downgraded” if he sought help from the welfare team.
AN Iraq veteran killed himself after refusing PTSD help in case it ruined his Army career, an inquest has heard.
The inquest into his death heard the 39-year-old, originally from Netherthird, Ayrshire, “wasn’t the same person” when he returned from his second tour of Afghanistan in 2014.
He was put on anti-depressants after he attempted to take his own life in August 2014 – but came off the medication and didn’t want more help.
His widow, Emma, said he feared it would affect his chances of promotion in the future.
Then last year WO McAvoy’s dad died followed by the untimely death of his older brother, John, and he refused help again.
He left home at the military base at Bovington, Dorset, for a haircut on March 26, but after his wife, Emma, got “concerning” messages from him she reported him missing to cops.
A friend, a fellow Army officer, then found his Land Rover 4×4 parked in a clearing in woodland near Dorchester, about eight miles from home.
His body was found a short distance away. A post mortem examination confirmed the cause of death as hanging.
The inquest into his death comes days after the Government announced the setting up of an Office for Veterans’ Affairs to help ex-service men and women get access to medical treatment, training and housing.
Military Cross winner Trevor Coult, who now campaigns for ex-service men and women to get the right support and help, said: “Unfortunately I’d say it is common knowledge that if you ask for help from the Army it will affect your career.
“The MoD don’t do enough to help people in my opinion and this case was so avoidable.”
WO McAvoy served in the Royal Engineers for more than 20 years.
Mrs McAvoy said: “He loved being a soldier. He didn’t want it to affect any promotion in the future and that’s why he took himself off (anti-depressants).
“He would have presented and said he was fine but he wasn’t fine.”
Mrs McAvoy said her husband of 11 years went to Iraq in 2003 and 2008 and Afghanistan in 2013.
She said up until that point he was “really fit physically and mentally”, but after coming home from Afghanistan in 2014 “he just wasn’t the same person”.
Mrs McAvoy fought back tears as she told the Bournemouth inquest of the evening her husband disappeared.
She said: “He came home, gave me a kiss and asked what was for dinner.
“He got changed and came back downstairs, said ‘put the pasta on, I’ll text when I’m leaving Dorchester (where he said he was going for a haircut).
“He gave me a kiss, patted the dog, and that was it.”
In a statement, the Army’s unit welfare officer Amanda Walmsley said WO McAvoy was directed to the welfare team following the death of his father, but did not make contact.
Mr Middleton recorded a verdict of suicide by hanging.
He said: “I don’t believe the Army have made any error. They have gone through very thoroughly what happened.”
Lieutenant Colonel Rotchell, who represented the British Army at the inquest, added: “I would like to pass on again on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the Army our condolences.”