Inquest hears soldier found dead at Prince Harry's former barracks felt he was bullied

Lance Corporal Joel Robinson, who took his own life while serving with The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, 
Credit: Hyde News and Pictures
Lance Corporal Joel Robinson. Credit: Hyde News and Pictures

A soldier in Prince Harry's former regiment had been repeatedly passed over for promotion and felt he had been bullied in the months before he took his own life in a barracks, a coroner has heard.

Lance Corporal Joel Robinson had been serving with The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, also known as the Blues and Royals, based at Combermere Barracks in Windsor, Berks when he was found hanging from a door frame in a public place on March 25, 2019.

On Tuesday, a coroner heard that the 24-year-old had been repeatedly left behind by the Army, despite glowing reports demanding he be promoted.

Joel's mother, Angela Robinson, told Senior Berkshire Coroner Heidi Connor that L/Cpl. Robinson felt he was being bullied while on a posting in Germany.

ance Corporal Joel Robinson was serving with The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment before he died. Credit: Hyde News and Pictures

Her barrister, Adam Payter, told the coroner: "In messages [to his mother] he described a number of occasions from 2017 onwards that his boss, L/Cpl Joyce, was 'literally bullying' him and that he would 'fly off the handle at him' and threaten him. He made references to 'surviving' this process."

The hearing in Reading, was told that despite glowing reports which said L/Cpl Robinson was "graded fifth in his squadron overall" and that he was "often seen and judged as if he was a Corporal", he was never promoted.

The inquest was told that L/Cpl Robinson eventually decided to file a service complaint to the regiment about what he felt was bullying that targeted him.

However, he was worried this could cause him to be further overlooked. His mother told the inquest: "Joel thought that he would have been overlooked if he went through with the service complaint.

"He did not want to grass on his mates and he thought it would be badly looked upon by his peers. There was one thing that Joel wanted and that was to be promoted.

Lance Corporal Joel Robinson. Credit: Hyde News and Pictures

"He felt his self-esteem was low when people got promoted over him when he should have been promoted. He felt he was being overlooked because of the service complaint."

The inquest, expected to last three days, heard that L/Cpl Robinson had repeatedly drafted the service complaint but he felt that his superiors were trying to talk him out of it and that they would not take it seriously.

Mr Payter added: "L/Cpl Robinson said there was a very definite threat that he would never be promoted if there was a service complaint made. He felt there was no other choice but to go ahead with the complaint because no one else was listening."

Lance Corporal Joel Robinson had been based at Combermere Barracks in Windsor, Berkshire.

On Tuesday, L/Cpl. Robinson's former regimental medical officer told the inquest the soldier had "a difficult history with alcohol" and had at one period been drinking 58 units a week.

Dr William Wall said the young man had been offered help during the period after his father's death in mid-2016, including counselling support.Asked if he received the same level of mental health support in the military as he would have had as a civilian, Dr Wall said: 'The mental health care was much better than he would have seen in civilian life."Dr Wall told the coroner that he was not aware of any bullying allegations relating to L/Cpl. Robinson's time at Combermere Barracks  and that the soldier had never brought up the issue with him.

"I think he was, at that point, drinking too much and I think it would be put down as binge-drinking. In terms of risk, there was no concern raised other than a person who was drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol," he said.

Earlier, the inquest heard that L/Cpl Robinson had joined the Army in 2010 straight out of school and his mother, who is herself an Army veteran, thought it was a safe place for him to have a career.

Mrs Robinson, who is a retired mental health nurse, also told the coroner that she believed her son had not meant to kill himself that evening, adding: "I don't think that he meant to take his life that night.

"There were plenty of opportunities in his room to place a ligature, there were all sorts of places he could have used if he wanted to.

"I think that he did what he did in that public place right next to a door where someone was sleeping, was because he wanted to be helped. He took a dog with him and that dog was noisy and had a collar that clanged.

The inquest continues.