Stress takes its toll

Former police officer Michael Thornbury claims the force abandoned him in his hour of need.
Former police officer Michael Thornbury claims the force abandoned him in his hour of need.

After dealing with serious crashes and fatalities in the Peel region for about 10 years, Mr Thornbury suffers from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and claims he has been ‘deserted’ by WA Police.

Mr Thornbury wanted to be a police officer from the age of 10. He said he fulfilled his duties for 21 years and served throughout the State until October last year, when he was deemed medically unfit for service.

Now, at 44, he is jobless and broke. He had to sell his home and some investment properties.

‘All I am left with is my memories,’ he said.

‘Everything reminds me of the fatalities. I do not sleep well, I thrash around and break things.’

He said driving also made him anxious.

Mr Thornbury’s problems began in 2002 when he attended two fatalities in one week. He described one of the scenes as being ‘like a war zone’.

In the other case, Mr Thornbury said he was badly affected after telling a mother her son had died.

‘I fell in a hole’