Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement death: Army investigates allegations of bullying
The Army is investigating allegations that a soldier who killed herself was bullied after accusing two colleagues of rape.
Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, 30, originally from Bournemouth, Dorset, was found hanged at Bulford Barracks in Wiltshire on October 9 last year.
She had alleged that she was raped by two fellow Royal Military Police (RMP) soldiers while she was drunk. Her complaint was investigated by the RMP’s Special Investigations Branch, but prosecutors subsequently decided not to bring charges. Corporal Ellement was branded a liar by colleagues after she made the allegations, her sister Sharon Hardy has said.
The soldier described her anguish in an email to a friend. She wrote in the message: “Hardly anyone is talking to me. Like I’d make up something that is this bad destroying my career, and losing all my friends.”
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Mrs Hardy alleged that the Royal Military Police “failed in their duty of care” to her sister, telling The Times newspaper: “Anne-Marie was made out to be a liar by other soldiers serving in the camp. In my opinion Anne-Marie never recovered. No one believed her and her friends in the Army had turned on her, thinking that she was making it up.”
Corporal Ellement’s mother Alexandra Barritt told the newspaper: “They brushed it under the carpet. Anne-Marie told me how upset she was. She was a strong girl but they broke her in the end.”
An inquest which was staged in Salisbury last month subsequently recorded a verdict of suicide.
At the time of the hearing, the inquest heard that she had always wanted to be in the Army and had joined the Royal Military Police in November 2006.
During that time she served in both Northern Ireland and Germany before being posted to Bulford Camp after making the allegation of rape against two male colleagues.
She served with 158 Provost Company and was described as a “competent” investigator who was finding her role as shift commander a “challenge”.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family of Corporal Ellement at this difficult time. The rape allegation was investigated at the time by the Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch, with the findings passed on to the independent Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA).
“The SPA directed that no charges should be brought.
“The circumstances surrounding Corporal Ellement’s death were also investigated by Wiltshire Police and by Her Majesty’s coroner.
“Prior to Corporal Ellement’s death, she received extensive support from the Army, which continued up until her death.
“All allegations, no matter what their nature, are investigated. The Army has a zero tolerance policy to bullying and harassment of its personnel and takes these matters extremely seriously.”