How DID this war hero police officer end up sleeping rough on the street?: Shocking story that shows why – one year on – the helpline we fought for is needed more than ever
By IAN GALLAGHER FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY
23 February 2019
Virtually penniless and unable to draw his pension, he slept rough last month, still with his warrant card in his back pocket. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, during which he repeatedly broke down, he spoke bitterly of abandonment, his belief that his Army and police careers had effectively been ‘for nothing’ and how his life had no horizons greater than finding his next hot meal.
Britain's first homeless policeman, 46, is a former Iraq and Afghanistan veteran
He decided to change careers after the Afghanistan War and joined the Met
The unnamed man was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2017
He has received no support while on indefinite sick leave from the police force
A Metropolitan Police officer, and veteran, has been sleeping rough in a Home Counties town
Having risked his life for his country at home and abroad for two decades, he might be forgiven for expecting recognition for exemplary service.
First he spent 12 years with the Royal Engineers, leading a specialist bomb disposal team on perilous missions in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tiring of Army life but determined to put his experience to good use, he then joined the Metropolitan Police, proving a brave and effective frontline officer.
Yet instead of laurels, this dedicated public servant has, ten years on, achieved an altogether different distinction. Like so many who put their lives on the line to keep others safe, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2017.
Emotionally adrift, his marriage failed – ‘I became impossible to live with’ – and then his life fell apart as his condition worsened.
Shamefully, the state averted its eyes. On sick leave ever since, he remains in theory a serving officer because the Met appears – inexplicably – to have forgotten him, or rather, in the words of the voluntary group fighting his case, allowed him to ‘fall through the cracks’.
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