Army missed chances to prevent suicide of Sandhurst cadet Olivia Perks, inquest finds

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The service missed opportunities to forestall the termination of a “positive and bubbly” serviceman cadet astatine the Sandhurst subject academy, an inquest has found.

Olivia Perks, 21, was recovered hanged successful her country astatine the elite grooming schoolhouse successful Berkshire connected 6 February 2019.

The coroner Alison McCormick recorded a decision of termination astatine the extremity of the inquest connected Friday, with her aesculapian origin of decease recorded arsenic asphyxia owed to hanging.

She said the service missed an accidental to get Perks seen by a doc aft the Falklands Ball connected 1 February 2019, aft which she slept successful a colour sergeant’s room.

The information that accent was a origin that placed Perks astatine higher hazard was besides not passed connected to the concatenation of bid aft her archetypal term, meaning they were little apt to judge it was indispensable for her to person aesculapian attention.

McCormick said: “The risks to Olivia were not managed successful accordance with the service argumentation for the hazard absorption of susceptible people.

“There was a missed accidental by the concatenation of bid to recognise the hazard which the accent of her concern [after the Falklands Ball] posed to Olivia and a aesculapian appraisal should person been, but was not, requested.

“It is not imaginable to cognize what the result would person been had a aesculapian appraisal taken place, but it is imaginable that measures would person been enactment successful spot which could person prevented Olivia’s death.”

The inquest astatine Reading Town Hall, which took spot implicit 16 days, heard Perks was a unfortunate of a “complete breakdown successful payment support” during her clip astatine the academy.

She tried to termination herself during a Royal Engineers sojourn successful July 2018 but was deemed astatine “low hazard of reoccurence” afterwards.

She was backmost connected work 2 days aboriginal and was told she risked losing her spot astatine the academy if she engaged successful akin behaviour again.

The inquest was told Sandhurst had an “irresponsible” deficiency of payment enactment contempt being rated outstanding by Ofsted 3 times earlier the tragedy.

It had 1 payment serviceman for 2,500 people, according to Lt Col Rupert Whitelegge, who was commandant of the academy’s Old College astatine the time.

Witnesses told the proceeding that during the Royal Engineers visit, Perks had confessed that she wanted to spell successful the sea, wanted to termination herself and asked for a loop and knife. She besides tried to strangle herself.

She had been successful a banned narration with the past unit sergeant Mark Easingwood, who worked arsenic a fittingness teacher for cadets, successful the months earlier she died.

Sophie Given, whom Perks had met connected a dating site, told the proceeding her person told her she “may beryllium pregnant” with a unit sergeant’s baby.

Easingwood told the proceeding they “kissed once” and had “an affectional bond” but denied their narration was sexual.

After the Falklands Ball, she spent a nighttime successful the country of Colour Sgt Griffith. The brace had denied intersexual enactment took place, claiming Griffith had invited her successful retired of interest for her payment and she had slept there.

When she was seen leaving his country successful her shot gown the regimental sergeant large told her: “My office, now”, and she aboriginal missed a parade.

Perks felt an “overwhelming consciousness of embarrassment” arsenic she thought she had got the colour sergeant into occupation and feared losing her spot astatine the academy.

Friends told the inquest that successful the days earlier her death, Perks said she felt similar she was “on trial” arsenic the academy’s leaders questioned her astir the incidental and rumours astir it dispersed connected WhatsApp.

As she was being informally questioned astir that nighttime by a mostly antheral group, 1 unit subordinate told her she had “had capable antheral company”.

In a missive to her mother, which was recovered successful her country aft her death, she said she “just can’t woody with the mendacious rumours which person ruined my service career”.

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