A VETERAN who died after a weekend drinking binge in Warrington had never recovered from the horrific scenes he witnessed while serving in Northern Ireland, according to his brother.
Warrington Coroners’ Court heard that David Nevins’ death in March was alcohol related, having consumed more than four times the legal driving limit.
The 40-year-old, from Yardley Avenue, Bewsey, served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers for five years and was on tour in Belfast in the early 1990s.
Brother Gary Nevins, from Great Sankey, told the court his brother started drinking excessively after seeing his best friend die in an explosion while on patrol.
“He was drinking to block out what happened to him,” said Mr Nevins. “His drinking got worse after that, he went AWOL and started getting into trouble, getting drunk and doing stupid things.”
Mr Nevins was also informed by his brother’s former sergeant, Steve Taylor, that 10 others on the same tour had committed suicide.
“He was talking to us about post traumatic stress, saying it was rife when Dave was in the army and in the past five years 10 of his regiment had committed suicide,” he added.
“They were all on the same tour. He would never take his own life, but it shows everyone was struggling.”
Five days before his death David was asked to leave his fiancé’s home following an argument, with a shopkeeper reporting he then bought three bottles of vodka and three cases of beer.
David’s death was caused by acute alcohol poisoning, but assistant coroner for Cheshire Alan Moore, who held the inquest on Wednesday, admitted he could not be certain what sparked the binge.
Mr Moore, who also served in Northern Ireland, said: “Soldiers tend not to share these things with anyone who is not a soldier themselves. It’s very clear David had bottled up this experience over the years.
“I do not doubt that experience stayed with him, perhaps every day of his life in one way or another.
“I’m not saying that led to his binge drinking, it may have been the argument with his fiancé. My sad conclusion is David’s death was alcohol related.”
Help is available to veterans at Blue Apple Heroes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at the Gateway and the rest of the week at their garden project in Victoria Park.
Founder Mark Smith said: “When people are suffering from alcohol or drug misuse we have to replace that in their life. Getting together with likeminded people goes a long way.”
Blue Apple Heroes are contactable on Facebook or via Twitter at @BlueAppleHeroes.