A winner in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games nearly killed himself after being “betrayed” by the Army over compensation.
Iraq veteran Matthew Elliott did Britain proud by taking gold in archery at the 2016 Games in Florida.
But behind the smiles, mortar-attack survivor Matthew was suffering.
And now, nine years after being diagnosed with PTSD and receiving a £10,000 one-off payment in 2017, the former lance-corporal is “struggling to work and often unable to leave the house”.
The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme rejected his 2019 bid for level 10 status, which would grant him 30% of his future salary and pension, claiming he’d made “substantial improvement”.
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Matthew, 39, who is appealing against the decision, still has counselling, daily medication and needs an assistance dog.
The self-employed tree surgeon living on the Isle of Man said he struggles being near strangers and is easily angered.
The dad of two said: “I feel betrayed after years of service. I have nightmares where I wake up lashing out.”
After the AFCS rejection Matthew even considered taking his own life.
He said: “I threw my medals against the wall, drove to the north of the island and even wrote a suicide letter.”
In his nine-year Army career, he spent six months with 23 Pioneer Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps in Iraq as an armoured vehicle and ambulance commander.
He lost two colleagues to an IED and was traumatised by transporting a Royal Marine with a seriously injured face.
Matthew, who has sons Charlie, 13, and Russell, 10, with wife Lara, 45, said: “The guy survived but I haven’t been in a butcher’s since I came back.”
Psychiatrist Dr Walter Busuttil of the charity Combat Stress, said: “We don’t know the scale of the problem, but this is sadly not the first case we’ve heard of.
“There seems to be little equality between physical and mental health tariffs and outcomes of appeals.”
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The MoD said: “We carefully consider all claims, including those for mental disorders.”
Dr Walter Busuttil, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director of Research at Combat Stress, said: “We don’t know the scale of the problem, but this is sadly not the first case we have heard of.
“There seems to be little equality between physical and mental health tariffs and outcomes of appeals when it comes to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
“We have advised the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme on this and we had expected them to have made adjustments. This situation needs to improve to ensure future cases are treated fairly.”
A MOD spokesperson said: “The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme is designed to support former and serving personnel whose illness or injury was caused as a result of service. We carefully consider all claims, including those for mental disorders. We do not comment on individual cases.
“All Armed Forces personnel are supported by dedicated and comprehensive medical services, including mental health support. We aim to provide a patient-centred mental healthcare system that is safe, effective, fair and accessible.”
- If you need to speak to someone, Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123.