The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Soldier ‘lay dead in barracks for three weeks’

- By Stephen Adams

AN IRAQ War veteran could have been lying dead in a bed at his barracks for three weeks before being discovered, his widow has claimed.

The body of Lance Corporal Bernard Mongan, 33, was found at an accommodat­ion block in Catterick, North Yorkshire, on January 23 – but police believe he died around New Year.

Last night his widow, Beth, 30, said: ‘What happened to Bernie is outrageous. How can a soldier be dead in his room for three weeks and nobody notice? When he failed to report for duty, why wasn’t his room checked?’

She accused the Army of keeping her ‘in the dark’ and fears he could have died needlessly from an illness because ‘no one bothered to check’ on him.

An inquest has been opened and L/Cpl Mongan’s funeral is due to take place next month.

Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British troops in Afghanista­n, said: ‘I have never before heard or experience­d anything remotely like it about a serving member of the Armed Forces on a military base.

‘There is a well-known military aphorism, “No man left behind.”

‘It seems like this man was left behind, and this very sad affair can only be due to a number of leaders failing to do their jobs.’

L/ Cpl Mongan joined the Irish Guards in 2004 and fought in the Iraq War.

He left in 2012, but rejoined three years later with the Royal Signals, where he was attached to the Intelligen­ce Corps. He had separated from his wife, with whom he had three daughters, but they had remained close.

She told the Sunday Mirror that they last spoke on New Year’s Day, but she had been informed by North Yorkshire Police that his phone activity ceased early on January 2.

Beth said he was due to start a new posting on January 8, but never arrived.

She said she asked the Army why he was not listed as absent without leave but had received no reply. She also claimed that her estranged husband had been bullied during his time in the Army, but is adamant he did not take his own life.

Last night, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘The circumstan­ces surroundin­g the death of a soldier in Catterick are being investigat­ed. It would be inappropri­ate to comment any further.’

North Yorkshire Police said they were ‘awaiting the results of tests to determine the cause of the man’s death’.

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