Female soldier who died after harassment did not want to be a 'troublemaker'

Jaysley Beck's mother Leighann McCready said she wanted her daughter's legacy to be for other female soldiers to feel free to speak up about harassment.

Social Affairs Correspondent Stacy Foster speaks to Jaysley Beck’s mother after an Army inquiry found that the teenage soldier took her own life after sexual harassment from a boss.

The mother of a solider, who is believed to have taken her own life after “an intense period of unwelcome behaviour” by one of her bosses, has said her daughter had not spoken out because she had not wanted to be known as a troublemaker.

Royal Artillery Gunner Jaysley Beck was found dead at Larkhill Camp in Wiltshire, the barracks where she was based, in December 2021.

Her mother, Leighann McCready, told ITV News her daughter had “loved her job” and had been a “proud soldier”.

But Jaysley had been bombarded by messages from her boss who had wanted a relationship with her.

The week before her death, Jaysley left a work trip because of his behaviour, and was collected by a friend who found her “trembling and shaking”, a report said.

Royal Artillery Gunner Jaysley Beck, left, sister Emilli, and mother Leighann McCready / Credit: Family handout/PA

Ms McCready, of Oxen Park in Cumbria, said her daughter would ring the family saying his behaviour was becoming “increasingly worrying towards her”.

But after a previous incident that Jaysley felt had not been dealt with properly, she felt unable to take her complaint higher.

“She didn’t want to be known as a troublemaker, as a female soldier,” her mother said.

“As she would say in her words, she didn’t want drama in her life. She just wanted to focus on her career.

“She was soon to be promoted and that’s what she was striving for. She didn’t want all the drama surrounding what she was experiencing.”

Ms McCready said the “behaviour, the harassment, became apparent” to Jaysley’s team.

Royal Artillery Gunner Jaysley Beck died in December 2021 / Credit: Family handout/PA

A service inquiry report describes “an intense period of unwelcome behaviour” and said it is “almost certain this was a causal factor” in the 19-year-old’s death.

In October 2021, Gunner Beck’s immediate boss sent her more than 1,000 WhatsApp messages and voicemails, according to the report. The next month this increased to over 3,500.

The Army investigation found her boss wanted a relationship with her, but she had a boyfriend and did not feel the same way.

“Whilst this behaviour ended the week before her death, it appears that it continued to affect her and had taken a significant toll on her mental resilience and wellbeing,” the report reads.

Ms McCready said the report had taken the family back to “a place where they didn’t want to be”.

“We’re not able to grieve in the way we should be grieving because of everything, for instance this report, it takes you back and we should be moving on and remembering Jaysley as our beautiful daughter.

Leighann McCready spoke to ITV News’ Stacy Foster about her daughter’s death

“We should be remembering Jaysley as Jaysley Beck not the trouble surrounding the military.

“This report coming out now has taken us back to somewhere we don’t really want to revisit when we should be moving on.”

The two years since Jaysley died have been “horrendous”, Ms McCready says. Despite asking repeatedly, Ms McCready has never been told what happened to the perpetrators.

“You still expect her to be walking through the door true Jaysley Beck style, blasting out her music, lifting everybody’s spirits up like she did.

“She just had this wonderful aura about her and she had this ability to let you know she was there, shall we say.”

Wiltshire Police said officers are “aware of reports of sexual offences” and confirmed they are “already actively investigating”.

Jaysley Beck’s family have paid tribute to the young soldier. / Credit: Family handout

Jaysley’s death has led to charity the Centre for Military Justice, which provides legal help to Armed Forces members, to call for serious sexual harassment and bullying cases to be handled by an independent body.

Ms McCready says no punishment of those involved would “bring back her daughter”, and instead wants Jaysley’s legacy to be for other female soldiers experiencing similar behaviour to “speak up”.

“What I would like is for any other female solider who is experiencing this, to be able to speak up and know the correct channels and [that] people will listen.

“It is difficult in the military, but there are people who will listen and for them not to keep it to themselves.

“Speak up. Don’t go through what my daughter went through.”

An Army spokesperson said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Gunner Jaysley-Louise Beck’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

They added that it would be inappropriate to comment further until after the inquest.

If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available.

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org
  • Call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58

See more links to advice and support here.

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