Sex offence-accused Army officer took own life

Sgt Major Bill Bielby Image copyright Gloucestershire News Service
Image caption Sgt Major Bill Bielby had served in Afghanistan

A sergeant major who had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder killed himself days after being accused of "serious sexual offences", an inquest has heard.

Bill Bielby, from Gloucestershire-based 1 Rifles, was found in his flat at Beachley Barracks 12 days after his arrest.

Gloucestershire Coroner Katy Skerrett recorded a conclusion of suicide.

She said she believed the motives were the fear of losing his army career.

Ms Skerrett said she also believed he thought he would be unable to see his children because of the allegations against him.

Mr Bielby was not charged with sexual offences.

She said she would consider over the next 10 days whether there were any issues in the way the Army dealt with Sgt Major Bielby after his arrest that require her to issue a Preventing Further Deaths report.

The inquest in Gloucester heard he died as a result of asphyxiation.

The coroner was told he left a note, five other letters to relatives and laid out his medals and his watches alongside them on his bedside table at Beachley Barracks, which is near Chepstow.

'Not enough support'

At the time of his death police had not investigated the allegations beyond interviewing the woman who made the complaint against him.

The inquest was told of the concerns of Sgt Major Bielby's ex wife that the Army did not do enough to support him emotionally in the period following his arrest while he was awaiting the outcome of the police investigation.

Det Sgt David Nicholls, from Gloucestershire Police, said he examined the scene and was satisfied no-one else had been involved in his death, and his phone history showed he had made searches which indicated "suicidal thinking".

"My assessment was that Bill had made the decision to end his life," he added.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, information about help and support is available here.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites