British Iraq war hero's 100mph suicide bid

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

War hero Johnson Beharry, Britain's highest-decorated serving soldier, tried to kill himself in a high speed car crash as he struggled with the trauma of the Iraq war, he told a newspaper Monday.

The 30-year-old lance corporal drove his car into a lamp-post at 100 miles (160 kilometres) per hour in London in December 2008. His car crumpled and he was knocked unconscious but escaped with minor scrapes and bumps.

Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross -- the highest decoration for valour -- for twice saving colleagues under intense fire in Iraq in 2004.

But the war left him with depression, finding it difficult to cope with his experiences and feeling guilt at his own survival.

"Everyone thinks I'm a hero because I was awarded a VC, but I'm just a normal soldier who can't get away from his demons," he told The Sun.

"And if it can happen to me, it must be happening to thousands of soldiers who are suffering and need help.

"Sometimes you just can't get away from the things you have seen.

"The minute I close my eyes I start sweating and seeing the faces of my dead friends. This is what makes me think, 'What is the point of me being alive when I'm suffering like this?'"

Grenadan-born Beharry said he was speaking out in a bid to help other soldiers with similar feelings.

"Help and care needs to be ongoing and available to everyone who served in the battlefield," he said.

© 2010 AFP

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