MoD denies "cover-up" as new documents delay verdict in Anne-Marie Ellement inquest (From Bournemouth Echo)
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MoD denies "cover-up" as new documents delay verdict in Anne-Marie Ellement inquest
Updated 3:44pm Monday 24th February 2014 in News
THE family of a Royal Marine police officer are “angry and upset” after an inquest into her death was adjourned because new documents had come to light.
The Ministry of Defence has denied a "cover-up" over the death of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, who was found hanged in her barracks at Wiltshire on October 9, 2011.
She alleged she had been raped by two soldiers in November 2009, while she was posted in Germany, but had been left " devastated" by the decision not to prosecute them, an inquest in Salisbury heard.
Wiltshire deputy coroner Nicholas Rheinberg had been expected to deliver his conclusion into Cpl Ellement's death today.
But the hearing was adjourned after the court heard an inventory listing items, including three mobile phones and a pink diary found in Cpl Ellement's room, had been discovered by the MoD.
The items have not been found and it is thought they may have been handed to Cpl Ellement's father, who has not been located.
More than 1,400 files, including 29 which were deemed relevant to the inquest by the MoD, would now be disclosed to Cpl Ellement's family, the inquest heard.
Kirsten Heaven, who represents Cpl Ellement's two sisters, told the inquest: "The family are devastated and upset this disclosure has come so late in the day."
Nicholas Moss, representing the MoD, said there was "no evidence of a cover-up". He said the MoD had gone to “exceptional lengths” to disclose all material possible.
Adjourning proceedings until Monday, the coroner said: "I suggest all urgency is given to track down any missing documents.”
A previous inquest in 2012 recorded that Cpl Ellement took her own life. But last August, the High Court ordered a fresh hearing.
During the inquest, Cpl Ellement's family claimed she had felt bullied by colleagues and without support in the Army.
Her sister, Sharon Hardy, 44, from Christchurch, told the inquest: "When she died, my immediate thoughts were the Army, the rape, the bullying and the overwork."
After the hearing, Cpl Ellement's other sister, Khristina Swain, said she was “devastated” to find the family had not had all the documents they needed.
She added: "The good thing is, by waiting until next Monday, hopefully we'll get all the answers we need and hopefully we'll finally get the truth."