A male who had claimed that he served for 16 years as a Paratrooper has been uncovered as a ‘Walter Mitty’ after he attacked a police officer who pulled him over for being drunk behind the wheel.
Stephen Armstrong, 54, claimed that he had PTSD after ‘serving various tours of duty during which he witnessed colleagues being blown up by IEDs’.
Armstrong used his ‘stolen valour’ to try and impress women who he met via various dating apps and sites.
Armstrong, who had a Paratroopers tattoo on his neck, told his probation officers that ‘his time’ in Iraq and Northern Ireland had contributed to his ‘mental state’ at the time of his attack on a police officer in Eyemouth, Berwickshire.
But the Scottish Sun revealed that the Ministry of Defence had no record of Armstrong having ever served in the elite fighting force.
Armstrong confessed to his fiancee that he had only ever been a reservist — having twice failed the rigorous and demanding tests required to join the Parachute Regiment.
In a text message sent to his partner — verified by The Scottish Sun — Armstrong said:
“I was neither tough enough physically or mentally.
“All the rest is bulls*** made up by an inadequate man trying to make himself look big.
“When really I was covering up what a coward I was.”
Armstrong made false claims in various posts on social media
Jedburgh Sheriff Court heard how Armstrong was found passed out at the wheel of his car outside his home in October.
Prosecutor Fiona Hamilton said:
“The lights were on and the engine still running.
“He was unsteady on his feet and smelt of alcohol.”
After giving a roadside breath test, Armstrong blew over twice the legal drink-drive limit.
As Armstrong was being arrested, he lost his temper and grabbed the police officer who was trying to detain him.
During the assault against the police officer, carried out in the back of a police car, Armstrong put the officer in a headlock.
Miss Hamilton told the court: “He grabbed his left hand and forced his nails into his hand. There was blood.”
Armstrong later admitted to assaulting the police officer and drink driving.
However, Armstrong’s lawyer, Mark Harrower, claimed that his “war experiences” were partly to blame for his conduct and for him attacking the police officer.
A report that was prepared for the National Probation Service claimed that Armstrong had been a “serving soldier for 16 years in the Army (Parachute Regiment)”.
The report also stated that Armstrong was being treated for PTSD.
But Terry McCourt, of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Parachute Regimental Association, told the Scottish Sun: “I have never heard of this guy.”
He was also investigated by the Stolen Valour website which investigates individuals who falsely claim that they have served in elite fighting units such as the Parachute Regiment.
A spokesman for the group said: “As veterans we find it insulting that he has lied about his service.”
An Army spokeswoman added: “We do not condone this type of behaviour. It is demeaning of the British Army.”
When approached for comment by reporters from the Scottish Sun, Armstrong said: “Brilliant. You can get on your way now.”
Sentencing has been deferred.
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