A female army sergeant took her own life after detailing her mental health battle in a pink diary during lockdown, an inquest heard today.
Lisa Brydon, 42, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, was said to have ‘served her country with distinction’ during a 13-year career in the British Army, which included tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and smashed the window but Ms Brydon was pronounced dead at a car park in Cardiff.
An inquest heard Ms Brydon had sent text messages and emails to her friends, sister and ex-partner in the days leading up to her death – and said: ‘I just want to sleep this whole nightmare away.’
The inquest heard that she struggled with depression and PTSD from her childhood, her military experiences, as well as relationship, financial, and employment problems.
Her ex-partner, Lisa Sayers, told the hearing that the couple split up in February 2020 having been in a relationship for 18 months, but continued living in their Cardiff home during the initial weeks of the first Covid-19 lockdown until April last year.
Former army sergeant Lisa Brydon, 42, was tragically found dead in her car in Cardiff an inquest has heard
Lisa had been a dedicated soldier attached to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the SAS and served in Iraq and Afghanistan before being medically discharged
Ms Sayers said she had called the police on several occasions when Ms Brydon alerted her to potential attempts to end her own life over the following months.
Ms Brydon was found dead in Cardiff on June 9 last year.
She had previously received help from charity Change Step, Help for Heroes and the Poppy Factory.
Officers searched her home in Adamsdown, Cardiff, and found a pink notebook with a list of ‘catalysts’ for her mental health problems.
The inquest heard Ms Brydon wrote about her PTSD, separation from her girlfriend, loss of her job, debt, living in a house share and lack of support in lockdown.
She left instructions in her notebook and said: ‘The debt, the heartache and the PTSD is just too much for me.
‘No amount of help will ever fix me.’
Her family say Lisa had attempted suicide five times since lockdown began at the end of March and had been ‘failed’ by the authorities
The inquest heard Ms Brydon had been struggling with PTSD before her death and lost her job four months earlier.
She had joined the army at just 22-years-old and worked her way to become a sergeant.
The inquest heard she had been in active service in Iraq and Afghanistan and a highlight of her career was being posted to a specialised military unit.
She was medically discharged in 2013 and went on to work in HR.
The inquest in Pontypridd, South Wales, heard Ms Brydon had repeatedly attempted suicide in the months leading to her death on June 9 last year and had been in contact with a crisis team.
She told friends: ‘I can’t fight this black dog any more. I just wanted peace.’
The inquest heard she struggled without ‘face to face’ support in lockdown and felt more ‘isolated and alone than previous occasions.’
A post mortem was carried out and toxicology reports found antihistamines, antidepressants and high levels of carbon monoxide in her system.
Her medical cause of death was given as carbon monoxide toxicity.
Ms Brydon’s sister, Tracy Curry, told the inquest Ms Brydon saw things that ‘affected her’ after joining the Army in 2000.
But she said Ms Brydon had ‘enjoyed her time’ as a servicewoman and said she believed her sister had suffered from depression since childhood.
Pontypridd Coroner’s Court was told Lisa was found to be deceased in her car on June 9, and a note was found at her home address indicating her intentions’
‘She then started working in HR, but don’t think she enjoyed it and missed the banter and camaraderie of the Army,’ she said.
‘I think she missed the Army life and this impacted on her mental health.’
Ms Curry said her sister had ‘reached rock bottom’ after her relationship ended and was signed off work with PTSD.
She added that ‘being in lockdown got on top of her’.
Coroner Nadim Bashir recorded a conclusion of suicide at the Pontypridd inquest.
He said Ms Brydon showed ‘bravery and courageousness’ during her career when she was posted to the specialist military unit.
He said: ‘That was an immense achievement in a short military career.’
Andrew Lawson, of the Ministry of Defence, passed condolences to the family.
He said: ‘She served her country well and we are very sad to her of her loss.’
Anyone seeking help can call Samaritans free on 116 123 or visit Samaritans.org