David Bell’s story
After 18 years in the military, in 2008, I was assaulted on base in Cyprus by 4 soldiers who had returned from Afghanistan. They punched and kicked me, stamped on my head, hit me over the head with a bottle. They broke my jaw, and I was left unconscious. I woke up in hospital covered in blows to my head and body.
I spent 2 months in the Army’s Headley Court rehabiltation centre, where I met other assault victims; assault was clearly endemic in Army culture.
My assailants had been arrested by MPs, and posted away. They escaped criminal convictions.
The Army offered me a promotion after I recovered, and I had to consider carefully the future of the family. But my wife and I needed justice, and rather than accept the offer we fought the Army ourselves for a year. The case went to court martial, but it was clear that the officers defending me and on the jury were not going to find the assailants guilty. My case was dismissed.
I was medically discharged in 2013, with traumatic brain injury, and PTSD. I took my case to a local solicitor to seek justice, but they failed after we had spent £7,000 on the case. This was our lowest ebb, and at this point another ex-soldier reached out to me, and put me in touch with Helen Clifford.
Helen put us at ease straight away. She listened to me, took on board my need to get justice, reviewed the case, and offered to help in 2013. Helen explained how the system worked, was easy to understand, compassionate. All the time Helen’s communications were brilliant.
Helen never settled for second best. She hired the best help for me: Doctors, Psychologists; ENT specialists.
7 years after the injury, as the case was going to court, the Army settled. Helen beat the Ministry of Defence! 1 year later Army accepted liability.
In the 7 years’ ordeal my wife and I learnt a lot from Helen about what’s fair behaviour. If I’m in trouble now, I ask ‘what would Helen do?. I follow Helen’s ethos, challenging unfair behaviour where I see it. She’s in my arsenal now.
Even now I consult Helen for advice in management issues, she guides me, and it gets sorted quicky.
Helen spends time looking into the problem, and doesn’t rush in; she considers the issues and angles; but is not afraid to go up against anyone. Her drive and passion are infectious, and rubbed off on my wife and me. She fights for you, from the front, unafraid of anyone.