Army veteran, 26, 'hanged himself' in Waterlooville after struggling with civilian life, inquest told

AN ARMY veteran 'with a heart of gold’ who hanged himself while struggling with the transition back to civilian life died by suicide, an inquest has found.

Saturday, 27th July 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 29th July 2019, 10:09 am
Army veteran Jozy Reed, 26 from Waterlooville, who committed suicide in March 2019

Portsmouth Coroner's Court heard former Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment soldier Jozy Reed was diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

The 26-year-old from Waterlooville, who died on March 31, had been prescribed the anti-depressant sertraline by his GP, the inquest heard.

He had recently been made redundant from his job, was struggling with the memories of a former relationship, and with making the move back to civilian life.

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Army veteran Jozy Reed, 26 from Waterlooville, who committed suicide in March 2019

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Mr Reed’s cousin 21-year-old Luke Hickman went to see him on March 28 after stopping receiving messages from the former soldier but found his body in woodland near Eagle Avenue.

He was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham but was pronounced dead days later.

Speaking at the inquest Mr Reed’s mother, Michelle Jones, said: ‘Most days were down days for him.

‘He didn’t really talk about it to anyone and kept everything bottled up.

‘I think he felt like he didn't want to burden other people with his problems.’

Mr Reed spent four years in the army, but his family said after being medically discharged he struggled with civilian life.

Cousin Mr Hickman, who was also at the inquest, said: ‘He loved being in the army, until he was medically discharged.

‘He was in a group that supported his transition but didn't feel like he was getting much support.

‘But he absolutely loved the time he spent in the armed forces.’

Returning her conclusion on the death, coroner Samantha Marsh said: ‘It was clear that Jozy was struggling and had been for quite some time.

‘We’ve heard various reasons that could potentially explain it, having left the army and being made redundant – it’s a hard transition from the army to civilian life.’

She added: ‘Jozy died as a result of suicide.’

Paying tribute to his cousin, Mr Hickman said: ‘For the people he cared for, he would do anything for, without question.

‘He had a heart of gold and was just a great person.’

Stephen James, co-founder of veterans charity All Call Signs, went to Mr Reed’s funeral, and says no veteran should shy away from seeking help.

He said: ‘In the armed forces, you’re told exactly what you should be doing, it’s very regimented.

‘Once you leave, all of that stops and you realise that as your life was paused while you served, the rest of the world has moved on without you.

‘Jozy was no age to leave this world with what was essentially isolation and not getting the help he needed.

‘Anybody feeling similar to this should make the calls to their regimental association, Royal British Legion and All Call Signs immediately. Just because you don’t have PTSD or were only in the army for a few years doesn't mean you are any less deserving of support.

‘There are more than enough people to help everyone – you’ve served your country, now let your country return the favour.’

Call Samaritans on 116 123.