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Judge pleads with soldier to get help for post traumatic stress disorder after he carries out unprovoked assault in Llanelli

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 19, 2014

Soldiers on an operation in Afghanistan.

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A JUDGE has pleaded with a soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after serving in Afghanistan to get help after he attacked a man in the street.

Johnathen Dunne, aged 26, from Capel Isaf in Llanelli, was discharged from 1st Battalion the Royal Welsh when his condition became clear but after he had served two tours of Afghanistan.

Judge Peter Heywood said he would not jail him for this unprovoked assault outside a club in Llanelli but urged him to get help.

"I don't think we give enough credit to the men who are prepared to lay down their lives on a daily basis for us," he said, but added that the courts were beginning to see more cases of offences committed by servicemen.

"Sadly, it's something we're beginning to see on a regular basis. Servicemen come home from the throes of conflict and we consider they're all robust by the very nature of their training but seeing colleagues and friends fall, it's not easy and I suspect so many of them need psychological help."

He then listed several people he knew in his own life who had served and the effect war had had on them.

"I am not going to send him to prison, largely because of that," he said.

"It's sad to see young men who serve with our premier regiment to find themselves before the courts because of what they have seen in Afghanistan and Northern Ireland because they think they can cope with it," he said.

James Hartson, representing Dunne, said his client was "very proud" of his service and was remorseful for this attack.

He left his victim, who had been out celebrating with colleagues, unconscious on the floor. But Alexander Budge, did not suffer serious injuries, prosecutor John Lloyd said.

Judge Heywood gave Dunne a 12-month community order, 100 hours of unpaid work and supervision.

"I want you to make sure you talk to your supervising officer and I don't want you to put on a face of bravado but if you're suffering flashbacks or anything of the sort you have to raise it," he said.

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  • Eureka1963  |  May 19 2014, 5:17PM

    Completely agree with abertawejack...I know how easy it is to get caught in the downward spiral after leaving the military...The MOD are totally to blame for this as they desensitise you and prepare you for war yet are quite happy to pat you on your way when you leave, and not a moment's thought for your welfare. I do suggest that Johnathen seeks help through either: http://tinyurl.com/ngvczhd http://tinyurl.com/obcqxbe Heed the fact your services for this country have been recognised but court isn't the place where they should be relived. There is help out there but you have to be a willing participant. Good Luck soldier. Finally and to reiterate aj - take your time with the drink and although it sometimes feels like the answer, it most certainly isn't.

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  • abertawejack  |  May 19 2014, 10:57AM

    What a compassionate and sensible judge, who really appreciates what "our Soldiers" actually went through and are even now going through; Soldiers are trained to fight and put their lives at risk in the name of "freedom", mere citizens who have no first hand experience into a soldiers environment, will not and cannot comprehend the magnitude towards this. The soldiers training programme is to keep going through all adversities, (as an unit) to fight battles that eventually wins or loses wars: Then they have to come down fast and be a decent member in society, without any help or time to adjust whatsoever, some can most can't simply because there will always be a something! that triggers off, a form of "Rambo's" within oneself, even self pity can be a triggered mechanism. A Specialised Medical team should be in place to help acclimatize them,when they return from a battle environment. I hope Jonathan takes on board judge Peter Haywood's sound and fatherly advice and get some help, better sooner than later, because believe me it will get worse not better over the years, psst by the way drink doesn't help it, I've been there seen it done it, so keep everything low key and find an outlet for any aggression, no matter who's at fault walk away. Taking up a sport, further education, or any other outlet really helps. Best of British to you Jonathan Dunne, Thank You for my "FREEDOM". (ex-Veteran)

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