A SOUTH Yorkshire couple have accused the Army of failing to offer support to their depressed soldier son - after an inquest found he took his own life.
Dad-of-one Matthew Parkin, aged 21, was found hanging in a wood near his home in Thorpe Hesley, Rotherham, in July 2010, six months after he was discharged from the Coldstream Guards.
An inquest yesterday heard Matthew was ‘a completely different person’ after leaving the forces. His parents claimed Army bosses had ‘washed their hands of him’.
His devastated mum Janice, 44, said after the hearing in Rotherham: “I would have rather he died in the Army - at least his death would have served a purpose, it would have been easier to accept.”
His dad Ian, 49, added: “He was a completely different person when he left the Army.
“It was like he just switched - he was aggressive when he never had been before, he was tearful - it just wasn’t like him.
“There was no protection for him from the Army, no support - and look at the result.”
The court heard Matthew - a former pupil at Old Hall Comprehensive, Kimberworth - had loved Army life until his daughter Mia was born in April 2009.
Matthew went absent without leave after taking two weeks’ paternity leave. When he was eventually arrested he cut his wrists, but texted his mum to tell her.
Ian said: “When Mia was born his priorities changed. He was due to go back to Afghanistan and I think he couldn’t bear to be apart from Mia for a long time.”
The Army agreed to relieve the private two weeks early, in January 2010.
The inquest heard the week before Matthew killed himself he was arrested on suspicion of assault, and his ex-girlfriend said she may restrict access to his daughter.
A few days before he died Matthew had been to an unsuccessful job interview, after which he returned home and a huge row erupted.
Matthew stormed out of the house at 11.30am - the last time his parents saw him.
Later that week his body was found hanging from a tree.
Coroner Nicola Mundy, recording a verdict that Matthew took his own life, said: “Clearly there had been relationship difficulties.
“He clearly loved his young daughter and the prospect of only seeing her through social services was distressing. It’s my view all the problems in combination were just too much for Matthew to cope with and he did wish to end his own life.”