AN Army investigation into the unexplained death of a British soldier – whose body lay undiscovered in his barracks accommodation for three weeks - has identified serious failings in its duty of care.

The decomposing body of Lance Corporal Bernard Mongan was discovered in an accommodation block at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, on January 23 last year.

The 33-year-old was in the Royal Corps of Signals, but was on an attachment to the Intelligence Corps while at Catterick and had previously served in Iraq.

He had been due to transfer to a base in Berkshire in early January and should have been listed as absent without leave (AWOL) when he did not report for duty.

However, it appears neither unit noticed or raised the alarm over his absence and the Army has said the delay in discovering he was dead, almost three weeks later, was "unacceptable and profoundly regrettable".

According to the BBC, which has seen a copy of the Army's Service Inquiry Report into his death, the report says that "failings in the proper management of personnel led to the delay in the discovery of LCpl Mongan".

The report also shows that LCpl Mongan's complaints of bullying and concerns about his welfare had not been properly investigated or passed on.

The panel which carried out the inquiry concludes that its report "makes for sobering reading".

While duty officers in Catterick had been told to contact those remaining in the barracks over the Christmas period to "ensure they are safe and well", the inquiry found the plan had "not been communicated and implemented as effectively as it should have".

There were a number of welfare and medical concerns surrounding the soldier which were not properly recorded or relayed.

In 2016 it was reported he had made "an attempt on his own life" which was addressed at the time but that information was not passed on.

The BBC reports that, as recently as 2019, he was described as being in an "emotional state" - with one witness saying he found him "sat on his bed… uncontrollably crying".

In a statement to the BBC, Brig Edward Chamberlain, head of the Army Personnel Services Group, said: "There were clearly failings in our duty of care to Lance Corporal Mongan.

"The delay in discovering he was deceased was unacceptable and profoundly regrettable. We are truly sorry that such a situation should have arisen."

He said the wellbeing of members of the armed forces was "critical", adding: "In this case, we fell short of the standard which our armed forces and their families are entitled to expect, and for that we apologise.

"We will implement all the recommendations in the Service Inquiry to ensure an incident like this does not happen again."