Soldier feared losing military career over fitness supplement days before death, investigation finds
A soldier may have died fearing that a fitness supplement he took could end his military career, an investigation has found.
Lance Bombardier Richard Jones, 23, from Caerphilly, ordered Hemo-Rage over the internet to improve his performance in the gym.
The “super fit” tug-of-war player used a powder spoon a few times before he found out that it was not allowed in the military.
L / Bdr Jones asked a friend to destroy the supplement, but began to fear that his superiors would take a sample of his hair for testing.
Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner’s Court have heard that L / Bdr Jones was suffering from hallucinations and growing paranoia after returning from a boat trip.
He claimed to have had an affair with a man during his engagement to his wife Jodie Jones, whom he married in 2011, at the Larkhill camp.
Colleagues discovered the body of L / Bdr Jones at his apartment in Larkhill, Wiltshire, along with a handwritten note saying: ‘You deserve better. “
Former Sergeant Major Jamie Lavery, of Tiverton, Devon, said on the second day of the three-day hearing on Wednesday that L / Bdr Jones visited him on October 12, 2012, three days before his death.
“I asked him if he had taken anything,” said Lavery, who has since left the military.
âHe said he did a workout supplement called Hemo-Rage.
âHe said he hadn’t taken it for a few weeks.
âI can’t understand why he did it, he was in great shape.
âHe said he wasn’t feeling well.
“I said, ‘When you get back to the doctor, take it with you so you can forget about those fears of mandatory drug testing.’
“I think it might have played in his mind that what he had taken might be illegal in the military.”
Mr Lavery said drug tests take place at least once a year in the military, although a unit can be tested two or three times.
There was no reference to L / Bdr Jones’ alleged affair during the visit and he did not appear depressed, Lavery said.
Hemo-Rage Black was banned in the UK in 2012, along with a number of sports supplements, because it contained DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine).
The Nutrex Research product has since been reformulated and does not contain the substance, it is understood.
Bomber Stephen Mitchell told the inquest: âHe told me he had taken Hemo-Rage a couple of times.
“We had a drug awareness briefing and he found out we weren’t allowed to use it in the military, so he gave it to me and I threw it away.”
The investigation previously learned how L / Bdr Jones returned from a two-week sailing trip to the Canary Islands on October 11, 2012.
After dropping off his bag, he confessed to his wife Jodie that he had had a relationship with a man before their marriage the year before.
The couple went to Salisbury District Hospital later that night, fearing they might develop psychiatric depression.
They left before L / Bdr Jones saw a doctor and visited his GP the next morning, October 12.
L / Bdr Jones grew increasingly paranoid and returned to Salisbury District Hospital in the early hours of October 13.
Dr Katherine Welland described L / Bdr Jones as having “all abilities” and cooperating with medical staff.
“He said ‘I overheard conversations’ and people were insulting him,” Dr Welland said.
The couple, who suffered from fertility issues, left the hospital before being seen by a mental health worker.
Ms Jones went to visit her family in Wales while her husband, of the 14th Regiment Royal Artillery, was left alone in their apartment.
âHe asked me if I was going to get a divorce and if our relationship was over and I said no, we just needed some time apart,â Ms. Jones said.
“Richard was a 23 year old man and not for a second did I think the result would be what he was.”
Ms Jones, now from Bridgend, was unable to contact her husband on October 14 and asked her colleagues to verify him before returning home.
Investigation has learned that L / Bdr Jones was found dead in his bed, with a handwritten note saying ‘You Deserve Better’ in the kitchen.
Bursting into tears, Lavery said, âHe was fit, enthusiastic, he would do anything for anyone.
âHe would have had a great career.
The investigation, which is expected to end on Thursday, is continuing.