Chelsea Manning's mother, 65, drowned in bath while ‘heavily intoxicated’ with alcohol, inquest hears
65-year-old Susan Manning was found dead at her Pembrokeshire, Wales residence in January, where she was submerged in the water while 'heavily intoxicated'
Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning's mother reportedly drowned in her bathtub after drinking alcohol. 65-year-old Susan Manning was found dead at her Pembrokeshire, Wales residence in January, where she was submerged in the water while "heavily intoxicated," The Sun reported.
Chelsea (previously Bradley Manning) missed her mother's funeral as she was being held in a US detention center at the time, according to the report. The 33-year-old former Army intelligence analyst was behind bars for contempt between March 2019 and March 2020, after she refused to testify before a grand jury that was probing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Susan reportedly returned to Wales after her marriage with US soldier Brian Manning broke down. In 2007, she suffered a stroke -- leaving her unable to travel to see her two children in the US. Susan was "sociable and well-liked by friends" but led a solitary life and "was drinking alcohol to an unknown excess," the inquest heard. Sharon Staples, her sister, spoke to her over the phone on January 9 this year. She could tell she was inebriated, which she said was "not unusual," but tried to convince her not to have a bath. The next day, however, no one could make contact with her. When Susan's brother-in-law Joe Staples went to the house with a key, he could not get in -- prompting him to alert the authorities. Responding officers discovered her lifeless body at the residence.
According to a toxicology report, Susan had 330mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. For reference, the driving limit in the US and UK is 80mg. Coroner Paul Bennett told the inquest in Haverfordwest that alcohol had made a "significant contribution to her death" and ruled her demise accidental, noting that she "drowned in the bath while heavily intoxicated".
Susan's daughter Chelsea shot to prominence after she leaked a huge cache of top-secret US government cables to WikiLeaks and was jailed between 2010 and 2017. Manning first reached out to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in January 2010, per the report, but they never met in person.
The whistleblower went on to leak more than 750,000 classified documents related to questionable actions taken during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The bombshell trove constituted 251,287 diplomatic cables from foreign embassies and 482,232 Army reports.
Manning's court-martial began in 2013, and she was thrown behind bars after being found guilty on 20 counts. While these included violations of the Espionage Act, the whistleblower was acquitted of aiding the enemy -- a charge which carries the death penalty. However, Manning was sentenced in military court to 35 years in prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas
While she was known as Private Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, she came out as transgender in 2013. Her sentence was commuted in January 2017 by former President Barack Obama. However, President Donald J. Trump, who was President-Elect at the time, said Manning should never have been released from prison and called her a "traitor".
In early 2019, she was back behind bars serving an indefinite sentence after she refused to testify to a grand jury. However, she was released earlier this year.
The Press Association asked Manning whether she regretted her decision to leak the classified cables, to which she replied: "I did what I did because of what I had available to me. In that timeframe, what I knew and what I understood, and the background that I had and who I am, the values set that I have, and also the short time that I had to make decisions. The way I see it, is I don't go back in time...what I really try to tell people is that if I had done anything differently it would have been a completely different person."