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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Veteran sues Army over 'stress'
Malcolm New
Malcolm New was decorated during his 18 years of Army service
A former soldier from north Wales has started a claim in the High Court for damages from the Army, saying he was mentally scarred by tours of duty.

Malcolm New, from Llandudno, claims the Army breached its legal duty by failing to refer him for medical treatment.

The 45-year-old was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder in 1997.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) refutes the damages claim, which relates to the former staff sergeant's tours in Northern Ireland.

High Court judge Mr Justice Owen will rule on whether prompt treatment would have prevented the onset of acute psychiatric problems.

Two other former soldiers, Melvyn West, from Barnsley, and another man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are pursuing similar claims.

'Emotional turmoil'

Mr New enlisted in the Royal Welch Fusiliers at 16 and completed five tours of duty in Northern Ireland.

He was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1990, before leaving the Army in 1994.

His lawyer, Stephen Irwin QC, claimed at the High Court on Wednesday that Mr New was exposed to "extreme and repeated stresses" while serving.

He said his client should have been received medical treatment from 1993 onwards, and the failure of the MoD to arrange prompt treatment for his symptoms caused his long-term emotional turmoil.

Mr New claimed he was particularly affected by an incident on one Northern Ireland tour in which a 10-year-old girl was killed by a ricochet during a riot.

He also described failing to save a young Royal Ulster Constabulary officer, injured in a bomb explosion, after giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

'Flashbacks'

Mr New's case hinges on claims that his superiors should have suspected a psychiatric disorder during his fifth and final tour of the province. He had not wanted to go and was sent home early.

Mr West, 35, who had served with the Light Infantry between 1988 and 1992, told the court that he suffered from sleep problem and flashbacks after three tours of Northern Ireland.

Mr Owen, 33, was said to have become "increasingly withdrawn" after two tours and his condition worsened after service in Bosnia in 1993.

At a hearing in May 2003, Mr Justice Owen had previously rejected claims from 11 other Army and Navy veterans that service in theatres of war had caused mental problems.

The MoD refutes all three claims and the hearing continues.


SEE ALSO:
'They turn a blind eye'
21 May 03 |  Health
Ex-soldiers sue over stress
21 Apr 00 |  Northern Ireland
MoD defends soldiers' treatment
21 Apr 00 |  UK News


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