EXPERIENCES while serving in the army during the troubles in Northern Ireland - and being involved in a crash that killed a young person - were some of the reasons a man drank himself to death, a coroner’s court heard.

Phillip Hart was found in his home in Johnston lying on the floor with an empty bottle of Bacardi beside him.

He never regained consciousness.

At an inquest, held at Pembrokeshire County Hall on May 26, Mr Hart’s wife described how he used alcohol as a coping mechanism and, on rare occasions, he would reveal some of the traumatic experiences he suffered in Ireland during the troubles. He served two tours in the country.

Mr Hart was also involved in a car crash whereby a young person died. Mr Hart sustained no major physical injury in the incident.

Toxicology reports showed alcohol in his system to a potentially fatal level.

Mr Hart also had diazepam in his system, although this was to levels that suggested he did not overuse the drug.

The official cause of death was reported as alcohol intoxication and chronic alcohol use. He was 66 when he died.

Present at the inquest, Mr Hart’s wife said both her husband’s military experience and the incident with the crash affected him.

“Although he had not talked about it in the early stages of marriage he later referred to what he had been through in Northern Ireland,” said Mrs Hart.

“The road accident had a major effect on him as well, and it was very sad that in the last couple of months the effects of the alcohol changed his personality.”


Phillip Hart was the third child in a family of three sisters and two brothers.

He went to schools including Haverfordwest Secondary Modern School and Fishguard Secondary Modern School.

He served in the Welsh gunners for five years in Aldershot and went to Germany

He had two tours in Northern Ireland. After the army he settled in Crundale where he worked among other jobs as an HGV driver delivering to farms in the area.

He leaves behind him a wife and two daughters.

Acting senior coroner for Pembrokeshire Mr Paul Bennett said Mr Hart was someone who struggled with the effects of alcohol due to a number of things that happened in his life including his military service.

“It is always very sad to hear that someone has to use drugs and alcohol to cope with such difficulties,” said Mr Bennett.

“There is also a possibility that Mr Hope might have had some input to cope with his PTSD but sadly that came too late for him.”

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