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Worthing mum's desperate plea to PM to help son
A soldier facing military prison for going absent without leave has been detained in an Army psychiatric unit after threatening suicide.
Private Johannes De Smit, 22, faces charges of going AWOL after leaving his barracks in Germany to see a doctor in the UK about the depression the Army had failed to address.
Private De Smit rang his mother from his base in Germany on Thursday morning to tell her he was being detained.
He told her: “I cannot go to prison. The only thing is to cut my throat.”
Appalled at the military’s welfare service, Sharon De Smit wrote to David Cameron to ask him to intervene.
Mrs De Smit, 45, said in the letter. “I begged my son to give me 48 hours to help him and to see if we cannot resolve this issue.
“It is not worth ending your life due to the Army’s negligence and pressure. I beg you to please help a young man who is now a broken man who has been let down in every aspect.”
Unable to cope with the stress of work, suffering sleepless nights and weight loss, Private De Smit, of 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, told his commanding officer in February that he wanted to use annual leave to go home to Worthing for treatment.
He was suffering from depression after his girlfriend had a miscarriage.
The request was denied, so the soldier decided to travel to the UK to get help.
Last month Private De Smit’s condition deteriorated.
He collapsed and ended up on a life support machine in intensive care.
The soldier has filed a complaint about his alleged mistreatment to the Service Complaints Commissioner, the independent watchdog charged with monitoring complaints by servicemen and women against the military.
Mrs De Smit said: “This is like my worst nightmare coming true. I do not think words can really describe how I feel.
“I do not wish this upon anyone.
“The MoD is very quick to say help is available for all, but clearly not in this case. It is so clear that they have failed him in every way and still the mental bullying continues.”
An Army spokeswoman said: “We are committed to giving our soldiers all the help and support they need and the Government has invested £7.4m to improve the mental health services available.
“We would encourage any soldiers in need to come forward and access the wide range of support available.”
Mrs De Smit was informed on Friday that her son’s passport is missing from his room, asnd has now travelled to Germany to try to help her son.
David Cameron said he would look into the case and respond to Mrs De Smit after he had been able to investigate.
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