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Soldier, 21, found hanged at Telford barracks hours after check-up

By Keri Trigg | Donnington | News | Published:

A young soldier was found hanged at her barracks in Telford less than three hours after discussing her mental health with the welfare officer.

The entrance to Parsons Barracks in Donnington. Photo: Google StreetView.

Lance Corporal Kashaani Van Lancker, 21, had agreed to hourly check-ups when she saw welfare officer Captain Lee Sumner on April 21, 2017.

An inquest heard she had admitted mixing sleeping tablets and alcohol the previous evening.

The inquest in Shrewsbury heard that she did not respond to messages after leaving Captain Sumner’s office and was found dead that evening.

LCpl Van Lancker, from Stockport, had been stationed at Parsons Barracks in Donnington, with the Royal Military Police.

The inquest heard LCpl Van Lancker spoke about wanting to be with her mother, who died in December 2013.

Captain Sumner told the inquest LCpl Van Lancker was referred to him in August 2016, after speaking about self harm while drunk.

They decided there was no need for a referral to the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) at that stage, but she agreed to be monitored more closely. LCpl Van Lancker did decide to see the DCMH in September and had three sessions before being discharged in November.

Her next contact with Cpt Sumner was the following January after concerns were raised that she was thinking about suicide. She confessed to self-harming and saw a doctor at the DCMH twice, before being referred to a consultant psychiatrist.

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In late March, LCpl Van Lancker revealed she had self-harmed again, and was assessed to be at “significant risk” of continuous self-harm but her short-term risk of suicide was “low”.

But according to LCpl Van Lancker’s friends she had spoken frequently about wanting to be with her mother.

On the morning of April 21, LCpl Van Lancker failed to report for work and when Captain Sumner saw her that afternoon the LCpl revealed she had taken sleeping tablets and drunk alcohol the night before in an attempt to take her own life.

However, Captain Sumner said: “We spoke about her plans for the future and she said she had made plans to leave camp over the weekend.”

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LCpl Van Lancker was not willing to go to hospital but did agree to hourly monitoring.

On April 21,when LCpl Van Lancker left his office, Captain Sumner asked Staff Sergeant Pope to make the hourly contact with LCpl Van Lancker. By 5.50pm she had not responded, so SSgt Pope went to check on her, followed by Captain Sumner at 6pm. While he was on his way, he saw an ambulance heading towards LCpl Van Lancker’s block. She was later pronounced dead at hospital.

Captain Sumner added: “She was a complex character with complex issues.

“In hindsight she was very good at wearing masks. I do not feel that her death could have been prevented – I would like to think in some ways our intervention delayed it.”

Regiment Commanding Officer Lt Col Ben Greaves gave evidence along with Col Alison Everest and Dr Christopher Barker, both from Donnington DCMH, on what lessons had been learned.

The inquest was adjourned until March 14 when John Ellery, senior coroner for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, will reach a conclusion and decide whether to issue a Regulation 28 Report on preventing future deaths.

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_Star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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