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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 18:12 GMT
Dead Red Cap 'had been rebuked'
Denise Rose
Staff Sgt Denise Rose: Regarded as ambitious and hard working
A senior Red Cap was found dead a day after being told off for being drunk in uniform, an ongoing inquest has heard.

Staff Sergeant Denise Rose, 34, of the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch, was the first female British soldier to die in Iraq.

Sgt Rose was found shot in the mouth in an Army base in Basra on 31 October, 2004. A 9mm pistol, with one bullet discharged, was found in her lap.

Sgt Rose, from Liverpool, had been reprimanded the previous day.

Drinking in uniform was banned for staff in the Special Investigation Branch (SIB), the inquest heard.

At a briefing the morning after the reprimand, Sgt Rose warned Captain Philip Neville, her SIB boss, he could be getting a phone call about the drinking incident.

"She seemed embarrassed because she felt she had let herself down," Capt Neville told the inquest.

Sgt Rose was discovered dead later that day. She was alone in an armoury at the Army base at the Shatt-al-Arab Hotel in Basra.

She had been working as a lead investigator in the deaths of UK soldiers in the Gulf.

'Male-dominated'

Capt Neville said that the tour in Iraq had been very busy, but that Sgt Rose had relished the challenge.

He said she had recently gone through a "messy" divorce, which had been her second, but did not seem low in mood.

Speaking about how she was socially, he said: "She liked a drink. Denise was very much in a male-dominated environment.

"Often within the SIB she found herself to be the only female. She often wanted to be 'one of the boys'."

He told the inquest that prior to her death she said she wanted to "get her career on track" and was keen to be promoted.

The hearing has been adjourned until Tuesday.




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