Army dream turns into a nightmare for Seaham soldier

Army Sergeant David Bell, Seaham.

Army Sergeant David Bell, Seaham.

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A SOLDIER is facing up to the end of his dream Army career after he was left injured when fellow squaddies allegedly turned on him.

Sergeant David Bell claims he was attacked by four colleagues after he was pulled up for wearing trainers in the mess of his Cyprus barracks, soon after returning from duty in Afghanistan.

The 34-year-old, from Parkside, Seaham, suffered facial injuries, including fractures to his skull, jaw and cheekbone which required surgery, and ongoing dental from damage to his teeth.

David has been on sick leave from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment since the attack, and is due before a medical board next month.

However, it is expected a year will have to pass since the incident so the full impact of his injuries can be assessed.

The dad-of-three, who has also served in Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia and the Falklands, said: “I’m not anti-Army and I have great respect for the lads and lasses out on combat, but I’m finding it so hard to feel pride for the organisation that’s done this to me.

“I was going to be posted as a colour sergeant, after that a warrant officer with another battalion and my career was all mapped out.

“Just before this happened I was in Afghanistan directing in the helicopters that were fighting the Taliban.

“The next thing I know I’m sitting at home.”

David said he had not planned to go for a drink on the day in February when the attack happened, but bumped in to a friend who had just returned from Kabul who invited him to stay for a beer.

He had been wearing trainers after a shift and although he knew it was against the rules, claimed restrictions lapsed because they were living in on the base.

David’s wife Stephanie, 31, a customer services adviser at Royal Mail in Doxford Park, said the attackers set upon him “like a pack of wolves”.

Stephanie, who has children Reegan, 13, Meghan, six, and Kieran, three, with her husband, added: “Our lives have been turned upside down.

“I myself spent 13 years as a serving soldier.

“Between us we’ve given 30 years’ service to our country, for what?”

David hopes to rebuild his professional life by qualifying to become a trainer in transport and logistics.

An Army spokeswoman said: “The Army has not concluded its considerations with regards to disciplinary action in relation to this case.

“All those who are found to fall short of the Army’s high standards, or who are found to have committed an offence under the Armed Forces Act, are dealt with administratively, or through the discipline process, as appropriate.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham