‘Opportunities missed’ to help special forces soldier who killed himself

Opportunities to reassess the risks a special forces soldier who took his own life posed to himself were missed, a coroner has reported.

Coroner Brendan Allan said Cpl Alexander Tostevin was not neglected by his superiors or military mental health staff. The 28-year-old special forces soldier was found dead in his property in March 2018 after he killed himself.

Allan’s comments come after a two-week inquest into Tostevin’s death, where it was reported he had sought support from different services. Tostevin made frequent contact with mental health teams who did not follow up on him having suicidal thoughts.

Tostevin was later advised to cancel his appointments with veterans’ mental health charity Rock2Recovery. “The fact Cpl Tostevin was seeking alternative options should have been a signal to those around him that his current treatment plan was not working,” said Allan.

“There was no consideration as to why [Tostevin] felt the need to seek alternative treatment, which should have been considered. This represents a missed opportunity to seek to identify [彼の] views about his treatment, and improvements that could have been made to ensure he would have felt listened to.

“When it became known that [Tostevin] had sought help from Rock2Recovery, the focus from the chain of command in medical was to close that option down.”

The inquest heard Tostevin had “changed” after he returned from Afghanistan, and would take a cricket bat to bed for safety. Family friend Olivia Wynne-James told the hearing: “I had seen so many changes in him – he was moulded into a different person.”

Tostevin’s family long believed he had developed PTSD after serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan in 2010. He had been providing cover fire to allow two comrades to get to safety when a bullet struck his helmet, and was mentioned in dispatches for his bravery.

Jocelyn Cockburn, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, 前記: “This inquest has been a battle for the family to get to the truth.”

Alison Tostevin, the deceased’s mother, 前記: “Alex was asking for help for a long time and as a family we feel he was failed,” adding that the care her son received was “inadequate” despite those involved in his care being told that he was “unwell and suffering”.

Cockburn said she was relieved that the coroner had resisted the Ministry of Defence’s attempts to exercise “too much control over the proceedings” of public scrutiny of mental health care within the Special Boat Service.

“Today’s recommendations should serve as a wake-up call for the MoD that the mental health of UK special forces must be protected,” Cockburn noted.

Alison Tostevin expects more members of the military forces to begin speaking up about mental health to prevent anyone from experiencing the trauma that her son experienced. “We miss Alex so much," 彼女は言いました. “We love Alex and will miss him until the day we die, and not until that day will we stop saying his name.

“We hope that he is remembered as he was in life – a highly skilled, dedicated and respected soldier, a loyal friend, fun loving, generous, kind and larger than life in every way.”

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