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Coroner slams the MoD over death of tragic war hero, 39, who turned to self-medication and alcohol to try to cope with ‘severe’ PTSD because support offered to soldiers was ‘patchy’


  • Alison Mutch warned that the support offered by the Army is ‘difficult to access’

A senior coroner has slammed the Ministry of Defence for failing to care for soldiers after the death of a 39-year-old Afghanistan veteran who ‘turned to self-medication’ to cope with severe PTSD. 

The coroner’s warning over a lack of care offered by the MoD comes following an inquest into the death of war hero James Day.

Mr Day ‘turned to self medication’ to try to get some respite from his ‘severe’ PTSD, causing him to develop alcohol related liver disease, it was heard.

As a result, on May 6 last year, Mr Day collapsed in Old Trafford, Manchester, and died despite the best efforts of emergency services.

Alison Mutch OBE has now warned that the support offered by the Army to its serving soldiers is ‘patchy’ and ‘difficult to access’. 

The senior coroner for South Manchester questioned whether the MoD did enough to support him.

The coroner's warning over a lack of care offered by the MoD comes following an inquest into the death of war hero James Day (stock image of the MoD's main building in Whitehall, London)

The coroner’s warning over a lack of care offered by the MoD comes following an inquest into the death of war hero James Day (stock image of the MoD’s main building in Whitehall, London)

At Mr Day’s inquest, it was heard he was discharged from the Army having received ‘little support’ to help him deal with PTSD.

A postmortem found the veteran, from Manchester, had developed alcohol related liver disease, which had led to heart problems and his eventual collapse.

In a Prevention of Future Deaths report addressed to the MoD, Ms Mutch said she had found ‘matters giving rise to concern’.

‘In my opinion there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken,’ she said.

‘The inquest heard evidence that James Day had served his country as a member of the armed services.

‘He had been deployed to Afghanistan as part of his service where he had witnessed traumatic events that had led to him developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

‘He needed support to help him deal with the trauma.

‘However, that had not been provided in such a way whilst he was serving to allow him to deal with his PTSD.

‘He had subsequently left the Army and had continued to struggle to cope with his PTSD. He used alcohol and prescribed medication to try and cope with the severe symptoms of his PTSD.’

She continued: ‘Support for service personnel with severe PTSD such as Mr Day whilst they were still serving and following discharge was patchy, difficult to access and did not appear to recognise how significant the impact of events they had witnessed whist serving could be on their mental health.

‘The inquest heard that better mental health support whilst serving and following discharge may have avoided Mr Day having to turn to self- medication to try and have respite from his PTSD symptoms.

She said ‘action should be taken’ to prevent future deaths.

Ms Mutch reminded the MoD they were under a statutory obligation to respond within 56 days, by April 3.



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