Gun theft soldier Harry Killick's PTSD claims disputed

Harry Killick Harry Killick returned from Afghanistan seven months before the thefts from his TA barracks

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A soldier who blamed post-traumatic stress disorder for stealing a gun and ammunition from a barracks may not have witnessed the horrors he claimed.

Senior officers questioned claims by Cpl Harry Killick, 37, of Brighton, that he had seen comrades killed.

As a result Killick, who admitted the theft from Brighton's Territorial Army base in January, now faces five years in prison, Lewes Crown Court was told.

Statements read to the court cast doubt on his claim of PTSD, which may have enabled him to avoid jail.

During a special sitting of the court - known as a Newton hearing - a statement from Killick's commanding officer indicated he could not have witnessed the deaths.

Start Quote

The only issue that Cpl Killick had with Afghanistan was to do with the tour having finished and returning to civilian life”

End Quote Lt Col Geoffrey Minton Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment

The basis of the defendant's guilty plea was that the theft had been prompted through him being traumatised after witnessing deaths and collecting DNA from body parts in Helmand, during a seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Marriage breakdown

Killick, of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, had pleaded guilty in January to possessing a prohibited weapon and stealing a firearm and ammunition on 19 October, 2012.

However at the hearing earlier, Lt Col Geoffrey Minton, commanding officer for his regiment, said in a statement that although he would have known about fatalities, he did not witness them.

He also said Killick was not responsible for the collection of DNA from insurgents' bodies.

Lt Col Minton said: "The only issue that Cpl Killick had with Afghanistan was to do with the tour having finished and returning to civilian life."

Colour Sergeant Matthew Gosling also disputed claims by Killick he had seen a comrade being killed.

He said although 4 Platoon had sustained one death their unit, 5 Platoon, suffered no injuries or deaths in Afghanistan.

The court was told Killick was about £20,000 in debts and struggling to deal with a breakdown of his marriage.

His relationship with his girlfriend had also finished and he had to come to terms with having nowhere to live after demobilisation from the army.

Sentencing was adjourned until Tuesday.

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