Queensland digger dies in Anzac Day tragedy
A 34-year-old former North Queensland army veteran found dead in his hotel room on Anzac Day spent years battling "demons" after returning from Afghanistan, says his grieving mother.
Bradley Carr lived in Cairns but was on the Gold Coast seeking treatment for his lengthy battle with post-traumatic stress when he was found dead in his bed at about 10am on Thursday.
His mother Glenda Weston said she spent years trying to help her son through the harrowing ordeal of his post-traumatic stress disorder, which led him to attempt suicide multiple times.
The cause of Mr Carr's death is yet to be determined, but Mrs Weston has spoken out about flaws in dealing with PTSD "epidemic" in Defence.
Mr Carr grew up in Charters Towers before joining the army in 2007. He was deployed to Afghanistan two years later.
A month later, Mrs Weston said her son was involved in an explosion that killed 22-year-old Private Benjamin Ranaudo. Mr Carr returned home in 2010 and left the army two years later.
But it was just the start of his PTSD battle.
Mrs Weston yesterday said she was critical of how Defence was dealing with PTSD.
"His biggest problem was to start with it took a long time to have him diagnosed with PTSD because no-one wanted to be part of it," Mrs Weston said.
"Things got so bad, I got so desperate. At the end of the day the system doesn't know how to handle PTSD. The doctors, they just prescribe drugs because they don't know how to handle it. It's become an epidemic with our boys. It's tragic. Then to watch your own son (go through it). The demons in their heads is intense. It took a long time before anything happened. These boys are juggling drug abuse, alcoholism, but the biggest thing they are battling is their PTSD."
She was also critical her son was not debriefed or offered counselling on returning from duty.
Long-time friend Richard O'Brien said Mr Carr had also expressed frustration in the past about his dealings with the Department of Veterans' Affairs over compensation.
He said his friend was always ready to "go down with the ship." "If you were his brother, he'd die fighting for you," he said. Defence said it was "saddened" by Mr Carr's death.
A spokesman said the "death of any current or former Australian Defence Force member is deeply felt by the Defence community, and our thoughts are with Bradley's family and friends."
If you or someone you know needs help contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.