Sophie Madden: Female soldier, 23, discovered dead at Army base just hours after calling son
This article contains information about suicide that could be triggering to some readers. Discretion is advised. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
KENT, ENGLAND: The body of a female soldier named Sophie Madden was discovered hanging at an Army base near Folkestone on June 10. The 23-year-old reportedly visited three bars that evening where she was described as “chatty” and “enjoying herself.”
According to The Sun, Madden’s body was discovered by Kent police at Overhill Training Centre, St Martin’s Plain, at 9.35 am on June 10, 2022. The gunner, in the 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Commenting on the death of the soldier, who was born in Wigan and was based at Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland, assistant coroner Bina Patel said at that time, as per KentOnline, "She died from injuries sustained at the scene," and the cause of death was given as suspension. Soon, the Kent Police launched a probe but confirmed the death is no longer being treated as suspicious. However, a full inquest was adjourned until September 5.
Madden's death was a 'total surprise'
During the inquest on Monday, September 5, it was informed, as per The Sun, that Madden visited three bars over the course of the evening on June 10 and she was described as "chatty" and "enjoying herself". Following this, she left for the camp between 12.10 am and 12.30 am where she played pool with some soldiers. Then, she returned to her room alone and called her sister Chantelle Madden, who was looking after her son. She asked her sister that she wanted to talk to her son but couldn’t as he was asleep. So, she told her she'd ring again in the morning to speak to him. However, Madden's body was discovered hanging.
As per the report, Chantelle said, "Sophie [Madden] was a strong, independent woman, and didn't tend to worry about things. I told her I'd send her some money and a spare phone the next day, but I didn't have any concerns for her safety or mental health." A toxicology report stated that she had 173 mg of alcohol per 100 ml in her blood when she died.
Coroner Katrina Hepburn, while ruling the verdict of suicide, said, "There is no evidence she was expecting anyone to come in and didn't tell anyone she was feeling in any way suicidal or made anyone aware of any issues when she went in. I am satisfied she did, in fact, intend to take her own life, and satisfied all other scenarios have been ruled out. Therefore, a conclusion of suicide is needed on the balance of probability. Her resilience and professionalism were an example to us all, and will live on as her legacy here and across the Gunner family."