A FORMER rifleman who had struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) took his own life days after being turned down for a new role in the military, an inquest has heard.

Jamie Davis, from Christchurch, was found deceased in his van at the Testwood Recreation Ground car park in Totton in the early hours on January 11 this year.

An inquest held by video link at Winchester Coroner’s Court today heard that the father of two felt “ashamed” of his PTSD, which had developed after close colleagues had been killed during tours of Iraq and Afghanistan with the 4th Battalion the Rifles.

Area coroner Jason Pegg, who recorded a conclusion of suicide, said it was “very, very sad” that Mr Davis, aged 30, felt the way he did given the disorder had come after serving his country.

Describing her husband during the inquest, Alicia Davis said: “Jamie was one of those people with a huge heart. He would do anything for anybody. You couldn’t help but love him.

Bournemouth Echo: Jamie Davis with his wife AliciaJamie Davis with his wife Alicia

“He was a big child stuck in a man’s body is the only way to describe him.

“He was a hell of a dad. He was always there when I needed him, when the boys needed him, but he was ashamed of his PTSD.”

Mrs Davis told the hearing her partner joined the armed forces in his late teens and during a tour of Afghanistan his section commander was killed, while he suffered shrapnel injuries to his knee, buttock and arm.

She said that he had spoken of his “guilt” that others had lost their lives.

He left the military in 2015, but Mr Davis did not want people to know about his PTSD due to fears it would impact on his chances of getting a job, the inquest heard.

Mr Davis suffered from “night terrors” and “split his life into so many segments” in an effort to cope but his wife said in the end “it all fell apart”.

In October 2018, Mr Davis attempted to get help through the Veterans’ Mental Health Transitions, Intervention and Liaison Service, after his son had asked why he was shouting in the night, however, he was discharged in early 2019 having missed several appointments.

Mrs Davis told the inquest he had struggled to attend appointments as they were some distance away and he could not take time off work, as the income was needed to support the family.

He moved out of the family home in July 2019 as a consequence of his PTSD, with it impacting on his family life.

The inquest heard he had a “relationship of sorts” with friend Sian Millins.

The coroner said by January of this year, Mr Davis was in a “very bad place”.

He had been turned down for a job in the Territorial Army on January 6 and suffered a bad injury to his knee playing rugby on January 5.

On January 10, Mr Davis sent messages to his wife, Ms Millins and on a WhatsApp group of his East Dorset Rugby Club colleagues. Mrs Davis and Ms Millins contacted police who launched a missing person search. Rugby teammate Sam Anstey attempted to find his friend and located Mr Davis inside his van at the recreation ground car park, the inquest heard.

A post-mortem recorded the cause of Mr Davis’s death as hanging.

Mrs Davis told the hearing that several of Mr Davis’s armed forces colleagues had sought help for PTSD following his death.

Mr Pegg said: “It is very, very sad that Jamie Davis was ashamed of his post-traumatic stress disorder, something which was in consequence of his service for this country.

“But it is good to hear that following his well-attended funeral, it seems that four rifleman colleagues may well have been persuaded themselves to seek assistance for their post-traumatic stress disorder, which is obviously a very good thing, but how that came about is desperately sad at the loss of Jamie Davis.”

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