What happened to Lance Corporal Bernard Mongan?

by Beth Mongan

What happened to Lance Corporal Bernard Mongan?

by Beth Mongan
Beth Mongan
Case Owner
I am the mother of Bernie's 3 young daughters, all aged under 9.
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Beth Mongan
Case Owner
I am the mother of Bernie's 3 young daughters, all aged under 9.
Pledge now

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Who am I?

I am the mother of Lance Corporal Bernard Mongan's children.  Bernie and I were married but separated at the time of his death but remained close friends. 

Bernie joined the British Army in 2004, served in the Irish Guards and had a tour of duty in Iraq. In 2015, he joined the Royal Signals, 1st Military Intelligence Battalion.

He loved his work. He was a deeply committed father to his children. He was 33 years old when he died. I am determined to find out how he died and whether anything could have been done to prevent his death.

Our story:

Bernie's body was found in his room at Catterick Garrison at the end of January 2020. We have been told that his body had lain in his room, undiscovered, for 3 weeks before he was found. Bernie had been badly assaulted by two fellow soldiers at the end of 2018, and a police investigation was apparently still ongoing when he died. More generally, Bernie told me that he was being bullied. A press report on the case is here: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/soldier-lay-dead-barracks-three-21458992 There is a huge amount of public concern - and concern within the Army - about the case.

Because Bernie was left for so long, we do not have a cause of death yet and the Coroner has opened an inquest. 

We have many questions about how Bernie died, whether the bullying or assault had anything to do with his death and how it was that he was left in his room on barracks, alone, for so long, with no-one in the Army apparently noticing or reporting him as missing. 

Our Case:

The best way to try and get answers from the Army - and to ensure lessons are learned - is for there to be as wide-ranging an inquest as possible. We need to be legally represented at the inquest and ensure that we have all the legal support that we need in the months to come. I know the Army and MoD will be represented by a really strong legal team, with solicitors and barristers, and I cannot hope to ask all the questions I need to ask or take part in the case, without legal help. The Army has also said that it will hold an internal 'service inquiry' and the Secretary of State for Defence has ordered an investigation and I want to ensure that I am involved in those investigations too. 

I need specialist, inquest lawyers that know how to deal with the MoD.

Emma Norton, former head of legal at Liberty and now Director at newly-formed charity, the Centre for Military Justice (www.centreformilitaryjustice.org.uk) is advising and representing me as my solicitor; and my barrister is Jesse Nicholls of Doughty Street Chambers. Both acted in the Deepcut inquests. Although our lawyers will act at very reduced rates, there is a lot of professional skill and effort involved in preparing for an inquest, and a great deal of work will be needed to prepare for the final hearing and all the surrounding legal processes. I hope to cover the CMJ and barrister's legal expenses and costs and am trying to raise £10,000 to do this. If anything is left over, it will go to the charity.

I am determined to ensure a full and fearless investigation into Bernie's death. The next stage in the case is likely to be an initial hearing before the Coroner, on a date to be decided. One of the first things that will need to be discussed is what evidence the Army and Ministry of Defence have about what happened to Bernie and to ensure that we see it all; and to discuss what other steps will be needed to be taken to get the case ready for a final hearing. One of the really important issues for us will be to ensure that the Coroner holds a wide, so-called 'Article 2 inquest' (this refers to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life), which will enable the inquest to investigate not only the immediate cause of death, but also the wider circumstances.  

Please will you support my important case and share this page as widely as you can?

Thank you very much for reading this.

Beth Mongan and her daughters.

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