A YOUNG soldier based at Catterick Garrison hung himself in his bathroom after spending an afternoon drinking Buckfast, an inquest heard today.

The coroner’s court at Harrogate Justice Centre heard that 18-year-old Alistair Billy McLeish had nearly three times the legal alcohol drink drive level in his system when he was found dead in his room at Bourlon Barracks on July 3, 2018.

Mr McLeish had only recently returned from parade duties in Germany and spent the afternoon of July 1 drinking at least two bottles of Buckfast - a strong caffeinated tonic wine - with a friend at the barracks.

He was not due to return to his military duties until July 3 and the alarm was raised when he failed to report for work that morning.

Speaking at the inquest, Major Frederick Macnair, 4 Scots Company Commander, described Mr McLeish as a popular soldier and ‘one to watch’ for a promising Army future.

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death nor any explanation as to why he had taken his own life.

Robert Turnbull, senior coroner for North Yorkshire, concluded that his death was by suicide whilst his judgement was affected by drink.

In a statement read out by Mr Turnbull, Mr McLeish’s mother Karen said the family had been devastated by his death and they could not think of any logical reason as to why he would have taken his own life.

She added: “It has come as a complete shock.”

Mr McLeish, of Selkirk, had joined the 4 Scots Highlanders at Catterick Garrison in December 2017 after completing initial training at Harrogate Army Foundation College.