North East soldier who survived IRA bomb ‘driven to brink of suicide’ by benefits system

Dominic Felton, 55, of Blyth, was left suffering PTSD after an IRA bomb attack in 1992 – and now he’s struggling to get the benefits he needs to survive

A British soldier whose life was left in tatters after an IRA bomb attack says he has been pushed to the brink of suicide by the benefits system.

Dominic Felton, 55, of Blyth , who suffers severe post-traumatic stress disorder, says he feels “betrayed”.

The hero said tests for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments are inhumane and dangerous.

Mr Felton, who cannot face going into busy centres for benefit assessments, said: “These tests trigger flashbacks, stress, panic attacks.

“People are dying because of them. The Government is killing and betraying its heroes.

“They carry on with quick-fire ­questions even if they see the distress they put you under.”

The last one pushed him into taking an overdose in September, his third suicide bid.

He said paramedics “only just got to me in time.”

He was not diagnosed with PTSD until 2010.

The condition and survivor’s guilt has cost him jobs, relationships and even his freedom.

In 1997 he spent six months in Strangeways prison, Manchester, for attacking four policemen after “self-medicating” on drink.

Mr Felton was with 2nd Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, when a 2,200lb bomb blew up the Army’s Cloghoge checkpoint, Co Armagh, in May 1992.

Fellow Fusilier Andrew Grundy, 22, was killed and six comrades were injured.

Mr Felton had shrapnel injuries and his ears were bleeding as he was dragged through a window of the steel armoured sentry post. Earlier he had swapped posts with Andrew.

Dominic, who lives in Blyth, Northumberland with partner Leslie Scott, volunteers with veterans’ charity Forward Assist was due to have a Department of Works assessment for his weekly £109 ESA last December but could not face it.

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