Soldier, 19, who took own life 'suffered relentless sexual harassment'

Soldier, 19, who took own life 'suffered relentless sexual harassment'


Female soldier, 19, who took her own life suffered relentless sexual harassment by superior who wanted a relationship with her, Army probe finds

  • Gunner Jaysley-Louise Beck endured ‘unwelcome behaviour’ from her boss
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A female teenage soldier who took her own life was relentlessly sexually harassed by one of her bosses beforehand, an Army probe has concluded.

Royal Artillery Gunner Jaysley-Louise Beck, 19, died at Larkhill Camp in Wiltshire in December 2021 following an ‘intense period’ of ‘unwelcome behaviour’ from a superior, according to an armed forces inquiry report.

Her boss, who has not been named in the investigative paper, reportedly sent her as many as 3,500 WhatsApp messages and voicemails in the space of a single month in November 2021, a month before she died.

He had reportedly pursued a romantic relationship with her but Gunner Beck, who had a boyfriend, did not reciprocate his feelings. 

The recruit, often known simply as Jaysley, also expressed fears that her line manager was tracking her movements via her mobile phone and left a hotel where they had both been staying on a work trip because of his pattern of behaviour.

Gunner Jaysley-Louise Beck took her own life in December 2021 following an ‘intense period’ of unwanted approaches from her boss, according to a report

Royal Artillery Gunner Beck joined the Army at 16 and was proud to be a soldier, her family says

Larkhill Barracks near Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. A report into Gunner Beck’s death said that a ‘significant minority’ of male soldiers would engage in sexually inappropriate behaviour

READ MORE: Pictured, soldier, 19, who died ‘suddenly’ at Salisbury Plain military base: Army launches probe after body of Household Cavalry Lance Corporal, 28, was also found the same day

A service inquiry report, set to be published later today but seen by the BBC, said her boss’ behaviour had ‘taken a significant toll on her mental resilience and well-being’.

She was found dead after a party, 10 days before Christmas.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Gunner Beck’s family said that the soldier had been reluctant to report her boss’ behaviour, believing that her concerns would not be taken seriously.

She had previously reported being sexually assaulted by another superior at an Army training centre bar – which is said to have led to a minor sanction and the man being told to write a letter of apology.

Her mother Leighann McCready said of reporting the concentrated harassment: ‘She was saying: “What’s the point, Mum, you don’t get listened to?

‘She (thought she) was going to be seen as a female troublemaker.’

She added of the Army’s initial report, which is said to have also claimed family issues played a role in her death: ‘They’ve missed a lot out.’ 

Gunner Beck, from Oxen Park in Cumbria, joined the Army at 16 and had been proud to be a soldier – but her family say she withdrew into herself as the campaign of harassment at the hands of her direct line manager escalated.

The superior sent her more than 1,000 messages in October 2021, rising to more than 3,500 the following month, shortly before she died.

In a message reportedly seen by the inquiry, she had written: ‘The truth is, I’m struggling to deal with all this.’

Gunner Beck’s family later said she was a ‘loving and caring person who would go above and beyond to help anyone in a less fortunate position than herself’

Her family later paid tribute to her while raising money for charity in her memory, writing: ‘Jaysley is a loving and caring person who would go above and beyond to help anyone in a less fortunate position than herself.’ 

Aspects of the inquiry, as reported by the BBC, suggest that inappropriate sexual behaviour was ‘commonplace amongst a significant minority’ of male soldiers at Larkhill, where Gunner Beck was based.

In 2022, an Army instructor based at Larkhill was sacked after buying ‘impressionable young recruits’ bottles of vodka and whiskey liqueur and asking another to ‘get up and walk’ so he could ‘look at her a***’.

READ MORE: Armed forces launch new crackdown on sexual harassment in the military after two Red Arrows pilots are axed for ‘inappropriate behaviour’ 

It is understood that Gunner Beck’s case is now being investigated by both civilian and military police forces. The Centre for Military Justice, which is supporting the family, branded her story ‘appalling’ in a tweet earlier today. 

Britain’s armed forces are cracking down on sexual harassment after bringing in new ‘zero tolerance’ rules last year.

MoD sources insist there is ‘no place’ for sexual harassment and assault in the military, and say efforts are being made to encourage victims to report it. 

Soldiers will be punished if they engage in acts of harassment such as cat-calling, inappropriate touching, ‘lewd’ comments, winking and ‘leering’ at squadmates.

The rules will apply across the Army, Navy and the RAF, and come after a landmark defence committee report found that nearly 62 per cent of female service personnel experienced bullying, harassment and discrimination.

MPs also found that servicewomen were more than 10 times as likely to experience sexual harassment as their male counterparts. 

The report concluded: ‘Other parts of the military culture of the Armed Forces show it is still a man’s world.’ 

An Army spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Gunner Jaysley-Louise Beck’s family and friends at this difficult time.

‘The circumstances surrounding Gunner Beck’s death, including the cause, are still to be determined by the Coroner.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment further until the Coroner’s inquest has been completed.’

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