Protest: Soldier sends back war medals to Cameron- Daily Mail newspaper- Exclusive news story- ***August 2010***

Neil Duffy contacted us after having his benefits cut depsite serving his country for almost 20 years.

We sold the story on Neil's behalf to the Daily Mail newspaper.

Neil was delighted with the article and with the response he received in support of his plight.

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Have your medals back, Mr Cameron: Veteran's protest to No10 over slashed benefits

Daily Mail newspaper

For almost 20 years, Neil Duffy was proud to serve Queen and country across the world.

As a sergeant in the Royal Artillery, he survived missile attacks and lost several of his close friends in combat.

But following his discharge from the Army on grounds of ill health last year, Mr Duffy says he has been left feeling suicidal after the Government halved his benefits  -  effectively making his family homeless.

Today he revealed that he had sent all four of his Army medals back to David Cameron in protest at his treatment.

He said he will not consider wearing them again until the Prime Minister helps servicemen and women 'regain their dignity' by altering the way the benefits system operates.

He said: 'I received my medals for serving my country, but I've decided to return them to David Cameron for the disgusting way my country has served me since I left the Army.

'After 20 years of faithful service, I am unable to provide for my family due to injuries and illness I suffered.

'Now, at the time I need it most, the country for which I would have paid the ultimate sacrifice has turned its back on me.

'My life has changed from that of a sergeant in the Army, to a man with nothing to his name, no money, no job, no home. I often think about ending it all but only my family keep me going.'

Mr Duffy, 36, joined the 12th Regiment Royal Artillery two months short of his 16th birthday in 1990.

He completed three tours of Cyprus and was sent to Northern Ireland, Poland and Oman, before serving in the Iraq war in 2003.

While stationed in Kuwait his regiment came under missile attack and three of his friends died in battle.

'After we came home I started to get terrible flashbacks and suicidal thoughts,' Mr Duffy, of Stockport, said. 'I just couldn't cope with what I had seen and been through.' 

Eventually, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was discharged in June last year.

During his time in the Army he received four medals; for his service in Cyprus, for Operation Telic during the Iraq war, a Queen's Jubilee medal and a gold conduct medal for 15 years' service.

On his discharge the Government agreed to pay Mr Duffy, who has been left unable to work, 1,140 in disability living allowance and employment support allowance.

He also receives an Army pension of 950 a month. However, in January, without any medical assessment, he was told the disability living allowance was being stopped and the employment support allowance was being cut, leaving him with benefits of 514.80.

He and his partner Kim, 37, and their children, Alex, 16, Charlotte, nine, and Jessica, 20 months, have been staying with relatives because they say they cannot afford to feed, clothe and house themselves.

Miss Duffy is also unable to work after suffering two strokes. She receives 188.40 disability living allowance, so the family have just over 1,600 a month on which to survive. She said: 'It's really hard, we've been moving around for 12 months now. We are living with Neil's grandmother at the moment.

'Neil is very unwell and it is hard for me to hear him talking about wanting to end his life.

'The Government make me sick that they can abandon people like Neil who've given their lives to serve their country.'

The Department of Work and Pensions said Mr Duffy's benefits were cut because he did not apply for them to be renewed correctly and failed to appeal against the decision. 

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