Stu McBrearty: Ex-Commando took own life after 'horrific' tours of duty

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Stu McBreartyImage source, Sophie Hughes
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Stu McBrearty was described by colleagues as "one of the best", the coroner said

A former Royal Marine shot himself after witnessing a series of "horrific incidents" during tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, an inquest has heard.

Stu McBrearty, 39, was "significantly affected" by seeing colleagues killed and injured in an "unlucky run" of incidents, the hearing was told.

The close protection officer, from Aldershot, was found dead in his room in Kabul, Afghanistan, in October 2019.

Hampshire Coroner Jason Pegg recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
The death of Luke Griffin (pictured), a fellow Kabul security worker, triggered a deterioration in Mr McBrearty's mental health, the inquest heard

Mr McBrearty's wife, Sophie Hughes, told Hampshire Coroner's Court she had urged him to come home after his mental health worsened in 2018.

She said the trigger was the death of his close friend, Luke Griffin, who was among five G4S security workers killed when Taliban gunmen stormed their base.

In a text message to his wife in July 2019, Mr McBrearty described loading his pistol and contemplating suicide, the inquest heard.

He wrote: "I can't be this person for much longer. This morning I felt nothing - flat."

Image source, SHAH MARAI
Image caption,
Mr McBrearty (not pictured) was working as a close protection officer at the Canadian embassy in Kabul

The following month he told a psychiatrist in London about "horrific incidents", including an ambush in Iraq in 2004 and two incidents in Afghanistan in 2007, in which members of his team either died or were severely injured.

The psychiatrist, Dr David Oyewole, wrote: "He was hyper-vigilant... numb to emotional feelings and experiencing intrusive thoughts about combat."

Mr McBrearty was found dead from a pistol wound at his quarters at the Canadian embassy in Kabul on 17 October.

He was three-times over the drink-drive limit, although his security firm had a "zero tolerance" policy towards alcohol, the hearing was told.

The coroner said Mr McBrearty was intoxicated and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from his military service.

"He has been described [by colleagues] as 'one of the best'... and hid his mental state under a facade of professionalism," Mr Pegg added.

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