The mother of a 19-year-old Royal Artillery Gunner who died by suicide after being harassed by her boss has spoken to ITV News about her daughter’s ordeal and her hopes for change.
Jaysley Beck loved her job and was a proud soldier
Jaysley Beck was found dead at Larkhill Camp in Wiltshire, the barracks where she was based, in December 2021. Her mother, Leighann McCready, said her daughter had loved her job and was a proud soldier. She had joined the Army at 16 and had served in Cyprus and Germany.
“She just had this wonderful aura about her and she had this ability to let you know she was there, shall we say,” Ms McCready said.
Jaysley was also a talented musician who played the saxophone and the clarinet. She had a boyfriend and a close family who adored her.
Jaysley was bombarded by messages from her boss who wanted a relationship with her
But Jaysley’s life was made miserable by one of her bosses, who wanted a relationship with her. He sent her more than 4,500 WhatsApp messages and voicemails in two months, according to a service inquiry report. He also made inappropriate comments and gestures towards her.
The report describes “an intense period of unwelcome behaviour” and said it is “almost certain this was a causal factor” in Jaysley’s death.
The week before she died, Jaysley left a work trip because of his behaviour, and was collected by a friend who found her “trembling and shaking”.
Jaysley did not speak out because she did not want to be known as a troublemaker
Ms McCready said her daughter would ring the family saying his behaviour was becoming “increasingly worrying towards her”.
But Jaysley did not speak out because she did not want to be known as a troublemaker, as a female soldier. She had previously reported another incident that she felt had not been dealt with properly.
“As she would say in her words, she didn’t want drama in her life. She just wanted to focus on her career,” Ms McCready said.
“She was soon to be promoted and that’s what she was striving for. She didn’t want all the drama surrounding what she was experiencing.”
Jaysley’s death has led to calls for independent oversight of sexual harassment and bullying cases in the military
Jaysley’s death has sparked outrage and calls for change in the way the military handles sexual harassment and bullying cases.
The charity Centre for Military Justice, which provides legal help to Armed Forces members, has called for serious sexual harassment and bullying cases to be handled by an independent body.
Emma Norton, the director of the charity, said: “The military justice system is not fit for purpose. It is not independent, it is not transparent, it is not accountable.”
She added that there is a “culture of silence” in the military that discourages victims from speaking out.
Wiltshire Police said officers are “aware of reports of sexual offences” and confirmed they are “already actively investigating”.
Ms McCready wants Jaysley’s legacy to be for other female soldiers to feel free to speak up
Ms McCready said no punishment of those involved would “bring back her daughter”, and instead wants Jaysley’s legacy to be for other female soldiers experiencing similar behaviour to “speak up”.
“What I would like is for any other female soldier who is experiencing this, to be able to speak up and know the correct channels and [that] people will listen,” she said.
“It is difficult in the military, but there are people who will listen and for them not to keep it to themselves.”
She also said she wants to remember Jaysley as her “beautiful daughter” and “best friend”, not as a victim of harassment.
“We should be remembering Jaysley as Jaysley Beck not the trouble surrounding the military,” she said.