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Traumatised Brighton soldier Harry Killick to be sentenced today
7:13am Monday 4th March 2013 in News
A Territorial Army soldier will be sentenced today for stealing a rifle and ammunition from a barracks in a suspected suicide bid after suffering conflict trauma.
Corporal Harry Killick, 36, pleaded guilty in January to possessing a prohibited weapon and stealing a firearm and ammunition from a TA barracks in Brighton.
The former paratrooper stole the items while on duty on October 19 last year with a plan to end his own life after being traumatised by seeing comrades blown up.
He has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since returning to Britain from Afghanistan seven months earlier.
Judge Anthony Scott-Gall, sitting at Lewes Crown Court, adjourned sentencing last month to hear what treatment options could be available to him.
Although he said all sentencing options would be left open, the judge added that Killick had been "damaged in the service of his country".
The judge told him: "I need to know that, if I take an exceptional course, that if released you will have immediate treatment having come back from Afghanistan in March last year, and if there is to be treatment, that it is fair to you."
Prosecutor Oliver Dunkin said that on the day of the thefts, Killick's estranged wife Nicola reported her concerns to his superiors about his mental state since returning from action.
Killick, from Brighton, had signed his car over to her, cancelled his bank cards and there were concerns that he had cut ties with his father and friends.
Mr Dunkin said: "Killick was informed that because of the unit's concerns about his mental state and PTSD after his role in action in the past, he would not be going with the rest of the platoon to a firing range in Folkestone that weekend."
Instead, Killick, of the Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment, was told he would have to remain on duty to assist with supplying kit to the rest of the soldiers going away on shooting practice.
But during the day there was a "slip" by a comrade of Killick's who left a "lethal" SA80 assault rifle unattended for some 15 minutes, leaving Killick free to steal it.
With the rifle, Killick then drove to the home of his former girlfriend, Jackie Lothian, to seek answers about their recent split.
But when he rang the doorbell at 9pm he was greeted by her brother, Jason Lothian, who said she was not in.
Hanging near the ground, Killick had with him a jacket which covered the rifle. Mr Dunkin said that Mr Lothian did not fear for his life as it was not raised but that Killick was "extremely emotional".
Matters escalated when Killick was invited into the property and pulled out some ammunition and locked it into the weapon, but there was no threat to kill Mr Lothian.
Later Mr Lothian grabbed a lead for the dog and ran out of the house to a neighbour's where police were called. Armed officers arrived and Killick was "totally compliant" and gave a full account to police.
Killick's defence counsel, Stephen Wedd, described the horrors his client saw during conflict.
He said that two months before the theft from the barracks, Killick had gone to Beachy Head and telephoned his sister, who talked him out of ending his life.
Sentencing will take place at Lewes Crown Court from 3pm.