Elite paratrooper, 23, found hanged in woods hours after hugging mum and telling her 'I'm hurting'

AN elite paratrooper was found hanged in woods just hours after hugging him mum and telling her: “I’m hurting.”

Luke Prior, 23, met up with his mum and later went to watch Wales beat England in the Six Nations earlier this year.


His inquest heard he only had one drink in a pub while he watched the match which Wales won 21-13 on February 23.

But the following day his body was found by dog walkers in woods near his home in Cwmavon, Port Talbot.

The inquest at Swansea Coroner’s Court heard he had been in contact with his ex-girlfriend and they were having issues with their relationship.

The court was also told there were few signs he was suffering with any kind of mental health issues, stress or depression.

Luke, who was a member of the 1 Para regiment after joining the army at the age of 16, wanted to be a soldier from the age of 12.

He initially joined the 3 Para regiment and was based in Colchester, Essex, but later transferred to the elite 1 Para regiment based at St Athan, South Wales.

A post-mortem examination found he died from pressure to the neck consistent with hanging.

Acting senior coroner Colin Phillips gave a verdict of suicide.

After Luke's death comrades paid tribute to him with a full military dress funeral at Margam Crematorium.

Since his death, Luke’s family have raised money for the Support Our Paras charity in his memory.

YOU'RE NOT ALONE

EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

He had wanted to be a soldier since the age of 12


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