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Cocaine shame of ex-soldier who fought Taliban

Army 'skeleton' sleigh champ suffers from PTSD, court told

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

A WAR hero who returned from Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) used drugs to cope with the horrors he saw.

But that has twice landed the former Royal Tank Regiment soldier from Newbury in the dock at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

Shaun Wadeson, who was also a bronze and silver medal-winning army bobsleigh champion, once picked for Team GB, had been travelling with two others in a car which was stopped by police.

At a hearing on Thursday, February 8, Lesley Gilmore, prosecuting, said that, on being told he would be strip-searched, the 28-year-old from Curling Way produced “two or three wraps” of cocaine.

Mr Wadeson admitted possessing the Class A controlled drug at Cheap Street in Newbury on January 22.

He also has recent, previous convictions for drink-driving, drug-driving and possessing cocaine, the court heard.

Sally Thomson, defending, said those convictions all related to one occasion and explained that her client was an army veteran struggling to cope with civilian life following his discharge in 2013.

She added: “He was recently diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his experiences on duty in Afghanistan.

“The army was his life. There are issues relating to his discharge that he continues to contest.

“He was also a skeleton bobsleigh champion, winning bronze and silver medals, selection for the national team and for Team GB.

“You can imagine how it felt losing all that.”

Ms Thomson said Mr Wadeson had since qualified as a marine engineer.

However, she added: “He has also trained as a security guard and has just applied for a job at Newbury Racecourse with his specially-trained dog, Buster.”

Ms Thomson said Mr Wadeson had moved in with his aunt and uncle, and went on: “They are both ex-service people; they have a really good understanding of the sort of experiences he has been through and are providing support.”

And rather than continuing to use drugs, the court heard, Mr Wadeson was now getting additional help for his problems from Help for Heroes and the Veterans Association.

Ms Thomson urged the court to impose a conditional discharge on her client.

But after retiring to confer, magistrates said the offence was too serious for that, and it was aggravated by the fact it followed so soon after his previous, drug-related convictions.

They instead imposed a £180 fine and ordered Mr Wadeson to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £30.

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