Military police officer was bullied after rape claim, inquest told

Anne-Marie Ellement was found hanged two years after military prosecutors decided not to take action against soldiers

A Royal Military Police officer who was found hanged at her barracks was bullied and stigmatised after reporting having been raped by two soldiers, an inquest has heard.

Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement, 30, was branded “the girl that cried rape” by colleagues after a decision by military prosecutors not to take action against the soldiers. She died at Bulford barracks, in Wiltshire, two years after she made the allegation.

Her sister, Sharon Hardy, told the inquest in Salisbury that Ellement was “absolutely traumatised” by the alleged rape, said to have taken place while she was stationed in Germany.

She returned to the UK on compassionate leave. “She looked worn out and she had lost weight – she looked awful,” Hardy said. “She kept a lot back because I think she was embarrassed about what happened.”

Hardy said her sister told her that a female soldier had made a statement to investigators supporting the rape allegations but withdrew it after befriending the girlfriend of one of the accused men.

“She told me that the girls had started to turn on her. The girls were running up and down the corridor screaming: ‘There’s the girl that cried rape’, banging on her door.”

Ellement was frightened about going back to Germany but confident the soldiers would be put on trial. When she heard they were not going to be charged she was “absolutely devastated”. Her sister told the inquest that Ellement’s reaction was: “Justice is shit. They got away with it.”

The inquest was told that Ellement was transferred to Bulford and hoped to start a new life there until a former colleague from Germany joined her and started telling people about what had happened in Germany.

Hardy also spoke of an incident at a rugby match between the army and navy at Twickenham, in south-west London, when Ellement alleged another soldier had said to her in front of 100 personnel: “There’s the girl that cried rape.”

She said: “Anne-Marie was absolutely mortified.”

Her sister said Ellement had also spoken about being overworked, doing up to 90 hours a week and being called in on her days off.

Ellement was found hanged in October 2011 – two years after her allegation of rape. Hardy said: “When she died, my immediate thoughts were: the army, the rape, the bullying and the overwork,” she told the inquest. “I think she said something on Facebook about: ‘I’ve had enough of everything’. Perhaps that was her warning sign.”

Ellement’s mother, Alexandra Barritt, said her daughter had become depressed after it became clear the soldiers were not going to be charged.

Barritt said: “These two individuals were threatening her and saying they were going to sue her and she was very distressed about this.”

Barritt claimed Ellement didn’t feel “at all supported” by the army. “She said she had been left alone to deal with it. She said people she had been friends with had turned against her, and she couldn’t come out of her room because …read more