Torment of war drove ex-soldier to suicide

AN EX-PARA who was tortured by the horrors he had witnessed hanged himself after leaving the army, an inquest heard.

Michael Ennis, aged 54, suffered mental health problems after more than 25 years in the forces and hanged himself in a secluded area in Parkwood Springs Woods between Shirecliffe tip and Sheffield Ski Village on July 15.

The Sheffield inquest heard the divorced dad of one was found by a group of teenagers out shooting rats. A note weighed down with a brick was by his possessions.

Girlfriend Jacqueline Dean said he had threatened to take his own life a number of times and had written suicide notes before. On the day of his death they had argued and he had left.

She added: "I had no concerns, sometimes he would strop off and then come back after a few hours. I thought I would see him later. It didn't occur to me that that's where his mind was at. It's not the first time I've had letters like that from him.

"One time he got very drunk and threatened to kill himself. Another time an ambulance was called but I wasn't there.

"It was like a child having a tantrum to get attention. He had mental health problems related to the army, he started telling me things but I told him to get professional help, I didn't want those images in my mind.

"He needed someone who could handle it, it was unfair of him to dump that on me."

The court heard he saw his GP in July 2008 and was judged to be a high suicide risk and was referred to the community mental health team. In April and August this year he was again referred to the team for treatment.

Ms Dean added: "He drank and had mood swings before starting a programme and taking medication. All seemed to be on a level then he decided he didn't want to do that any more."

The court heard earlier this year Mr Ennis, who was born in Northern Ireland, had accepted a job back with the army based in Hereford.

He had given up his flat in Sussex but the job had fallen through and he had come to Sheffield and stayed with friends.

Ms Dean added: "He was excited about the job, he had an energy I hadn't seen for ages. When it went wrong he seemed to handle it quite well."

Coroner David Urpeth said: "It's clear he had a very troubled mind but it's not clear why he took his own life, although the indications are it was due to what he had seen during his time in the forces."

He returned a verdict that Mr Ennis took his own life.

READ MORE

Subscribe to The Star

Main news index

Your letters

Features

South Yorkshire's environmental news

Kids Zone

More business news

More Rotherham news

More Doncaster news

More Barnsley news

Latest sport.