British soldier kills himself 'due to survivor's guilt'
Dan Collins, a soldier who survived a tour of Afghanistan which killed his two best friends, has committed suicide - as his girlfriend says he never came to terms with the "guilt" of out-living them
Dan Collins had been provided with counselling by the military to get over his experience and was hoping to start a new career as a physical training instructor
Lance Sergeant Collins, 29, had cheated death fighting the Taliban when his own his life was saved by his body armour.
But the Welsh Guardsman could not come to terms with returning home safely without his friends Dane Elson, 22, and Tobie Fasfous, 29.
Dan was found hanged in a quarry near his home in Cardigan, West Wales, on New Year's Day.
His girlfriend Vicky Roach said: "The only comfort I've got now is that Dan is at peace with two of his best friends that died out in Afghan.
"He couldn't get past it, he felt really guilty and he kept saying it should have been him that died.
"He was a very sensitive man who couldn't get past the guilt.
"I was there for him as much as I could but he had thoughts in his head that no one could ever understand.
"He would let you in so far but then close the door."
Vicky, 27, revealed Dan had tried to commit suicide on previous occasions and would wake up screaming at night.
She said: "We were just walking through Tesco and the big, tall cages that they have, as they're being dragged along, they rattle quite loudly and that scared him, that really shocked him.
"It sounded like gunfire constantly going off. That was the first instance where he dropped to the floor.
"He shouted out man down and hit the floor."
Dan and Vicky had been together for two years since he returned from the frontline in Helmand in Operation Panther's Claw.
He was shot in the back by a sniper in May 2009 but survived because of his body armour which took the bullet. He was also caught up in two roadside bombings.
The couple met in February 2010 - and she supported his return to civilian life as he battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She added: "What happened on Sunday was not the first attempt - it's been really tough.
"I've seen him try a few times, he struggled a lot.
"If you lose a leg or an arm - don't get me wrong, that's horrendous - but you deal with it and you move on.
"He couldn't move on, there was no way of him moving on."
Vicky has called for more help for troops suffering from PTSD returning from the battlezones.
Dan had been provided with counselling by the military to get over his experience and was hoping to start a new career as a physical training instructor.
Vicky said: "It was a constant battle in his mind every day, and he was fighting this battle."
After returning from tour Dan, of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, had previously praised his body armour for saving his life - and praised how he was glad to be alive.
Father-of-one Dan personally thanked its maker Kevin Butterly to thank him for making the lifesaving kit used by British troops.
Dan told Kevin at a meeting in Cardiff: "If I was still wearing the old-style armour I'd have been seriously hurt or possibly even killed.
"This kit saved my life and it's an honour to finally say thank you."
Dan was in a fire-fight in Helmand Province when he was hit by a 7.62mm Taliban bullet.
But the round was stopped by his Osprey bullet proof vest - and stuck safely in its padding.
Dan said: "I was knocked to the ground and told my platoon sergeant I'd been shot.
"I felt a burning sensation but ended up laughing because I was still alive.
"I said then I'd like to buy a pint for the guy that built the body armour - and now I have."