A young soldier of the British Army had died. It is believed that he committed suicide last year. The army’s investigation revealed that the boss repeatedly sexually exploited her.
Royal Artillery gunner Jessie Lewis Beck, 19, was found dead at Larkhill Camp in Wiltshire in December 2021.
BBC has seen the army’s investigation report. “It is almost certain that this was a factor in his death,” it said.
The report published on Wednesday said that his then boss continued to misbehave with him for two months before his death.
According to the report, “Although this behavior had ended a week before his death, it appears that this behavior troubled him. It had a major impact on his mental state and well-being.”
Boss sent thousands of messages
Jessie Beck’s mother spoke exclusively to BBC. He told that his daughter had started feeling depressed after months of harassment.
The Army’s investigation revealed that her boss, who has not been named in the report, wanted to have an affair with her, but she had a lover. His boss did not understand his feelings.
The report details how his boss sent him more than 1,000 WhatsApp messages and voicemails in October 2021. By the next month their number had increased to more than 3,500.
According to these messages, he wanted to control her. He wanted to be constantly reassured that she was alone. He had also made it clear that he could not even think of her being with anyone else.
Jesselee Beck initially respected her boss as a friend. Jaisli tried to convince him. But before her death, Jaisli wrote in a message that she “can’t handle this anymore. It’s becoming a burden on me.”
sexual harassment in the armed forces
Emma Norton, a lawyer for the victim’s family, said: “It is very significant that the military is acknowledging that the sexual assault of this young woman in the months leading up to her death was a factor in her death. I am not aware of any other case like this , in which it has been accepted. Obviously this is a matter of great concern to this family.”
Two years ago, an investigative report by MPs found that women victims of sexual harassment and serious sexual assault in the armed forces were not getting justice due to inadequate complaint procedures.
The military investigation into Jessie Beck’s death has told how her line manager was responsible for giving her the job. This would ensure that they were working together. Beck had expressed apprehension that his boss was monitoring his activities through mobile phone.
A week before his death, he had to leave a hotel because of his boss’s behavior. Both of them were staying there because of work. According to the evidence given in the investigation of this case, he got worried and called his father. When she found a friend, she was trembling.
In a message she told her boss that she was stuck because of his actions. His family is worried about this. He told that he had tears in his eyes. “The truth is that I’m struggling to deal with all of this,” she said.
When did Jaisli Beck join the army?
Jaisli Beck joined the army at the age of 16. He was proud of being a soldier.
Jessie Beck’s family lives in Oxon Park, Cumbria. The family saw the messages of his boss. Her family told the BBC that Jessie Beck did not want to hurt her boss’s feelings.
“You think the easiest thing to do is block him, but you can’t block your boss,” says his mother, Leighann McCready.
McCready, Jessie’s father Anthony and her elder sister Emily were in constant touch. They could see the impact their boss’s unwanted behavior had on them.
“She was always sad,” says McCready.
She says, “She was fed up with his behavior. It started affecting her work, which she really enjoyed doing.”
‘Get away from me sir’
McCready said she told her daughter to report her boss’s behavior. But due to the way the Army had taken action on the complaint of sexual harassment lodged by another of her superiors a few months earlier, she was not inclined to complain.
This incident took place late at night in a bar of the Army Training Center. It has been told in the report how Jaisli left the bar and hid in the toilet.
McCready remembers every detail of her daughter’s call the next morning.
She says, “She said he put his hand between her legs and tried to grab her by the neck. At this she screamed, ‘Get away from me, sir.’
She says, “That night she slept in her car. She was afraid that if she went to bed they would come into her room. She called a friend of hers who was on guard duty that night. He told her “You stay on the phone until I fall asleep and if you hear anything, call for help.”
Jaisli did not complain about what had happened to her. Someone else had complained about this.
“Command took this incident seriously, but the evidence shows that the correct reporting procedures were not followed,” the report says. The person involved in the incident was given a minor punishment, according to the report. He was given a letter of apology to the teenager. Asked to write. It has been accepted in the report that because of this he might not have complained about other incidents that happened later.
The victim’s family has seen that apology letter through the warrant officer. In it, the man who sexually assaulted her said, “If there’s ever anything I can do for you, my door is always open.”
McCready rejected this proposal as disgusting. “This is something that my daughter will have to carry with her throughout her life,” she said.
The report said that family issues were also responsible for Jaceli Beck’s death.
Disapproving, Jessie Beck’s mother McCready says, “I think they’re trying to impose a lot on her family.”
She says, “He has said that the family is also partly responsible for the daughter’s death.”
According to the report, Jessie Beck did not have any mental health problems. He did not even ask for help from anyone in the army.
The inquest into Beck’s death heard from witnesses at Larkhill regarding inappropriate sexual behavior by male soldiers towards their female colleagues.
“A witness described repeated comments from male soldiers. She described these comments as demeaning and insulting,” the report says.
According to the report, the measure to deal with such behavior was introduced as a part of a new policy brought in for the armed forces in November 2022.
When Jessie Beck’s mother was asked whether she regretted her daughter’s career choice, she said without hesitation, “Yes.”
He accused the army personnel of lack of compassion.
He said that an unsuccessful attempt was also made to instruct him on how to make arrangements for his funeral.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Jesse Lewis Beck during this difficult time,” an Army spokesperson said. He said that it would be inappropriate to comment until the investigation is completed.
The Defense Ministry and the Defense Committee have appealed to the serving personnel willing to share their experiences of the last two years to participate in the evidence submission drive on 14 November.
MP Sarah Atherton, chair of the sub-committee on women in the armed forces, said the committee was examining whether recommendations made in 2021 to tackle undesirable behavior had led to improvements.
Calling Jacely Beck’s death a tragedy, he said, “My sympathies are with Jacely Beck’s family.”
Mental problems can be treated with medicine and therapy. For this you should take help from a psychiatrist, you can also contact these helplines-
Helpline of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment – 1800-599-0019 (Available in 13 languages)
Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences-9868396824, 9868396841, 011-22574820
HitGuz Helpline, Mumbai – 022- 24131212
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience – 080 – 26995000