South West Wales

Former Llansawel soldier's suicide after 'flashbacks'

Dylan Jones, and Swansea Civic Centre where the Coroner's Court is based Image copyright Family photo / Google
Image caption Mr Jones first joined the army at 16

A former soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan took his own life after suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, an inquest has heard.

Swansea Coroner's Court heard Dylan Jones, 37, of Llansawel, Carmarthenshire, was found slumped at the wheel of his car last July.

A post-mortem examination revealed he had died after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning.

Assistant coroner Aled Gruffydd recorded a conclusion of suicide.

Notes to family and friends were later found in Mr Jones' car, which was parked on a hillside near Pontardawe with the engine still running.

Two passers-by smashed open the window and tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.

'Horrors of war'

The hearing was told father-of-two Mr Jones suffered flashbacks and nightmares after witnessing the "horrors of war".

He first joined the army at 16, left to become a lorry driver, before signing up again in 2004.

While in the Middle East a colleague died in his arms and he witnessed another soldier lose their legs.

South Wales PC Stuart Evans prepared a report for the coroner which was read aloud.

PC Evans said, when Mr Jones left the army in 2012, his family began to notice "a change in his mood" and a "distant look in his eyes."

"He would sometimes scream and shout in his sleep," he said.

Mr Jones was diagnosed with PTSD in March 2015 before being placed on a five-month waiting list for treatment.

His partner at the time, Shan Thomas, said in a statement he appeared to be getting better after being prescribed anti-depressants and being referred to a specialist service for veterans.

But the inquest was told his mental health deteriorated when the relationship ended.

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Media captionAmanda Jones said veterans should not be left in the community to "fend for themselves"

Mr Gruffydd said Mr Jones had been told he could "self-refer" and access the services of charities while on the waiting list - but he had declined.

"At the end, he experienced difficulties that Dylan felt he could no longer cope with," Mr Gruffydd added.

"I think Dylan is like me, and a lot of men, in a sense - we only ask for help when it's too late.

"It is tragic that another serviceman has chosen to end his life after witnessing the horrors of war."

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Jones' sister Amanda said she believed servicemen and women should be offered help much quicker than they currently are.

She added: "They've risked their own lives for the country, they should be given help immediately and before they leave the army - not left in the community to fend for themselves."