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PTSD Equals Jail For Soldier Who Became a Heroin Addict and Stole Gun

Discussion in 'News, Politics & Debates' started by anthony, Dec 19, 2006.

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  1. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    A soldier who turned to drugs after suffering flashbacks of his service in Iraq was jailed yesterday for stealing a gun from his barracks and threatening a dealer in a row over £20.

    Danny McKee, 29, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after risking his life daily while searching potential suicide bombers. The former public schoolboy, who had an immaculate record before he went to Iraq, turned to heroin, a court was told.

    He was jailed for three years for stealing a Browning 9mm pistol from the armoury at the Royal Marine Barracks at Chivenor, North Devon, in June and using it to threaten a drug dealer.

    A judge recommended that McKee receive psychiatric treatment in jail for PTSD after two senior army psychiatrists confirmed that he was suffering from the illness.

    McKee joined the Army with four A levels and was promoted to a lance corporal sapper attached to the Royal Marines working in one of the most dangerous areas of southern Iraq.

    He was part of a convoy that was ambushed by insurgents and later came close to shooting an Iraqi civilian after taking shelter in his home.

    Exeter Crown Court was told that after he returned to Britain he was given no counselling or advice on how to cope with nightmares and flashbacks and had turned to drugs.

    McKee, from Cardiff, admitted having a firearm with intent to rob and was jailed by Judge Nicholas Gerasimides, the recorder. He told McKee: “It is said you behaved in that way because you were suffering from PTSD following incidents witnessed by you as a professional soldier while on active duty.

    “Both doctors agree you were suffering from the illness but say at the time you misappropriated the pistol you were not acting within a flashback.

    “It is sincerely hoped your sentence of imprisonment means you will go to an establishment where there is provision to start treatment of your condition.”

    Gavin Collett, in mitigation, said that McKee’s offence could be directly related to PTSD.

    He said: “He was put in a situation in Iraq where the Army were not fighting a war in conventional terms where the enemy is easily identified. They are facing an almost impossible task with enormous demands being made on them.

    “That is how this problem has arisen. This is the first case of its sort to come before the court and it is perhaps the first in a long chain. There may be other soldiers coming back home and finding they cannot cope with normal routine.

    “At a time when the Army is having problems recruiting, it does not send the right message when people like this are in need and they turn around and say it is not their problem.”

    Source: Times Online
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