Alan Forcer, a 40 year old Army Veteran who served in Ireland and Kosovo was found hanging in Woodland on 21 May 2020, after being reported missing by his ex-wife Claire Lilly.
Alan joined the Army when he was 16 years of age and went on to serve with 7 Company, the Coldstream Guards in September 1996. He volunteered to go to Northern Ireland with the Scots Guards and on his return to Kosovo in 1998 with the Irish Guards. Five months into his tour he returned home on R&R and had to be seen by his civilian GP due to the effect that his experiences in Kosovo was having on his mental health. He was deemed not medically fit to return to complete the second part of his tour. He was later attached to the Household Cavalry in Knightsbridge where he remained until his discharge in 2000.
In June 2017 Alan contacted Combat Stress for help with his mental health and he was diagnosed with PTSD which was substantially service attributable from his experience in the British Army 12 months later. In the Autumn of 2019 Alan was referred to the NHS Veterans Mental Health Service through TILS (Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service) due to a deterioration in his mental health. This referral was refused due to him receiving care and treatment from Combat Stress.
In February 2020 Alan was advised by Combat Stress that they could no longer support him due to funding issues and a service redesign. He was referred once more to TILS for anger management support and ongoing Complex Trauma Support. He was assessed by TILS the same month and the decision was made that he did not require support either for his anger management or more significantly his PTSD.
In March 2020 the country went into a National Lockdown due to the pandemic. The things that Alan used to do in order to manage his PTSD like exercise and gym sessions were brought to a close and due to the withdrawal of services from Combat Stress he was left without a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) and support with his mental health.
On 20 May Alan did not return home after allegedly going fishing. He was reported missing to Cleveland Police by his ex-wife Claire. Claire informed the police that Alan was a veteran and that he had PTSD. She informed them of her concerns that he may make an attempt on his life.
Sadly, he was found on 21 May 2020 hanging from a ligature in woodland in Stockton-on-Tees.
The Inquest into Alan’s death will explore the discharge of Alan from Combat Stress and the referral made to the NHS Veteran’s Service as well as the search by Cleveland Police when Alan was reported as Missing.
Gemma Vine, specialist inquest solicitor at Ison Harrison solicitors, commented:
“Alan’s family want his inquest to raise awareness of a number of issues including the availability of access to mental health support for armed forces veterans who suffer trauma during service. Also, to highlight the need for a more robust missing persons protocol put in place by all Police Forces in the UK to work alongside the charity All Call Signs*, continuing its lifesaving work in attempting to bring missing veterans home.
“We want to ensure the various factors that are at play when a veteran takes their own life are fully considered and that this information is fed into the Government’s study The National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) suicide in former service personnel of the UK armed forces**. Without this information, there will not be sufficient evidence to identify trends and needs to help prevent future deaths.”
Alan’s family is being represented by Gemma Vine, Ison Harrison Limited and Counsel Lilian Lewis, Garden Court North.
The Inquest is listed for 4th October.