Service Inquiry report into the death of L/Cpl Bernard Mongan published

30th Jul 2021

The Ministry of Defence has today released the Service Inquiry report into the death of L/Cpl Bernard Mongan (link below).

In due course, the Coroner will hold an inquest into the death. A date for the inquest has not yet been set.

The Court Martial trial of two soldiers accused of assaulting Bernie (including a racially aggravated assault) will be held on 8 November 2021, at Catterick.

Beth Mongan, Bernie’s wife, said:

‘I have read the Army’s Service Inquiry report. My worst fears have been realised and I am shocked at the number of failings identified. It is clear that Bernie felt bullied, this was not investigated properly, his mental health suffered, he was telling people he was afraid and he was not checked properly in the days before he died. If those checks had been carried out properly, we might not be here now. I have so many concerns about the Army’s response to the alleged assault and the alleged bullying. Just in the last week, we have heard yet more concerns expressed (this time by the Defence Committee) about the Army’s apparent inability to deal with serious bullying and harassment cases properly and fairly for soldiers.  I remain hopeful that the Coroner will now fully and independently investigate all these apparent failings.’

Her solicitor, Emma Norton, said:

‘What is striking is the similarity between some of the failings identified in Bernie’s case and in other serious cases. For example, in the late Cpl Anne-Marie Ellement case, the failure to properly transfer important information about her potential vulnerability between different Army units was described by her Coroner as ‘unforgivably bad’ – and despite all the assurances given to the family in that case, the Army now appears to admit that the same thing happened to Bernie; and in two inquests in 2019, a Coroner found that the Army had failed to follow its very important Post Operational Stress Management processes after those young soldiers (Rfn Darren Mitchell and L/Cpl James Ross) had returned from Afghanistan – the same thing apparently happened to Bernie. These are just two examples of a whole range of failings identified by the Service Inquiry panel. Bernie’s wife is devastated to learn about the extent of the problems Bernie was experiencing and his efforts to get help, which seem to have been in vain. No doubt the MoD will state, as it always does, that it takes a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to bullying and mistreatment of its soldiers, but all the evidence points to yet another serious failure.’

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