Suicide sailor 'bullied by officers'
22 August 2012
A Royal Navy engineering technician who killed himself with an SA80 assault rifle aboard HMS Cattistock, had been subjected to 'bullying' by senior officers, an inquest has heard.
Samuel Hatton, 20, shot himself on 12 September 2010, just four months after joining the ship's crew and seven months after a close friend Matthew Webster, 23, killed himself in similar circumstances on board HMS Hurworth.
Hatton had taken ammunition for the SA80 after being given the keys to the ship's magazine, where ammunition is stored, several days earlier while on cleaning duties, Portsmouth Coroner's Court heard. He left suicide notes apologising to his family for killing himself, the inquest heard.
Leading engineering technician Nathan Senior said Hatton had complained that people on board had made "comments" to him about his reaction to Webster's suicide.
"If what he said to me was true then I would say he felt he was being bullied," said Senior. "He also said he was not happy about comments being made about him. He said there were people who had made comments about his friend committing suicide and [asking] if he was going to repeat his friend's actions.
"The people he was talking about were those in management rather than in his mess. They were flippant comments such as 'When are you going to shoot yourself?''. 'He felt he was being unfairly treated."
Gunnery officer Lt Sean McClean said another male officer had taunted Hatton by saying "Not shot yourself yet Ricky?".
"He replied, 'No, not yet.' and left it there," McClean said
Investigations by the police and Royal Navy found no suspicious circumstances surrounding Hatton's death.
The inquest continues.
HAVE YOUR SAY
24 August 2012
Bullying has always been endemic to the forces and MOD, and is liable to get worse as more has to be accomplished with less people, supplies and equipment.
AlMiles - Bristol, UK