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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2005, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Ex-soldier 'lost it' on duty tour
Malcolm New
Malcolm New was decorated during his 18 years of Army service
An ex-solider, claiming the Army failed to treat his stress, was sent home from duty because colleagues thought he was "losing it", the High Court has heard.

Malcolm New, 45, from Llandudno, was sent on a fifth tour of Northern Ireland in 1993 despite telling a doctor of stress-related headaches.

He is seeking damages from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) its failure to refer him for medical treatment.

The MoD refutes the claims and similar ones made by two other former soldiers.

Mr New rose to the rank of staff sergeant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers during his 18-year Army career.

'Significant strain'

He excelled in intelligence work in Northern Ireland, searching for terrorist "hides" and weapons caches, the court heard.

On receiving the British Empire Medal in 1990, he was praised for "outstanding leadership" and his commanding officer said he "really gets to grips with the terrorists".

But on his fourth tour in 1989, a colleague had described him as being "pushed very hard" and showing "significant strain" despite performing to a high standard.

In 1993, Mr New applied for redundancy shortly before a fifth tour but was refused, his barrister Stephen Irwin QC said.

He had also seen a doctor about recurring headaches, which he told her could be stress-related.

Mr New told his superiors he did not want to return to Northern Ireland but he was dispatched and, within two months, was complaining to a friend of severe headaches.

Diagnosis

Soon after, he was transferred back to England after fellow soldiers speculated he was "losing it".

Mr Irwin told the court that Mr New should have been referred for medical treatment at this stage.

However, he did not see a psychiatrist until 1997 - three years after his discharge - and he was diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr New is making his claims alongside two other former soldiers - Melvyn West, from Barnsley, and another man who cannot be identified for legal reasons, who have also claimed that the Army failed to refer them for treatment.

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:
Veteran sues Army over 'stress'
19 May 05 |  North West Wales
'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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