Surrey

Surrey Police gets £1.3m for Deepcut deaths review

Deepcut barracks Image copyright PA
Image caption Deepcut barracks saw four deaths over seven years

Surrey Police has been allocated £1.3m for a review of the deaths of four soldiers at the Deepcut barracks.

The money will pay for officers to provide evidence for the coroner if there is a new inquest into one death.

Four soldiers were found dead from gunshot wounds at the barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying.

The father of Pte Cheryl James wants a new inquest because he said her death was treated as suicide. Surrey Police said it was not a new investigation.

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Media captionPte Cheryl James was found dead in 1995 and an inquest recorded an open verdict

'Just terminology'

Pte James, 18, who grew up in Llangollen in Denbighshire, was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995.

An inquest recorded an open verdict.

Her parents believe their daughter had suffered sexual harassment and bullying.

They have now been given permission by the attorney general to apply to the High Court for the death to be looked at again by the coroner.

Her father, Des James, told BBC Surrey: "Surrey Police are reacting to an investigation being carried out by our legal team and uncovered evidence that they clearly have missed."

The force, which secured the funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner's Office, described the scale of the review as "significant" with a dedicated team.

It said the families of the other three Army personnel who died have asked for the disclosure of information held by the force about the deaths and the funding was required for officers to do that.

Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Cundy said: "Surrey Police is not reinvestigating the deaths, but is committed to providing disclosure to the families through their legal teams and will provide the appropriate support for any potential inquest process in the future."

Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex, was found dead in June 1995, also from gunshot wounds.

In September 2001, 17-year-old Pte Geoff Gray, from Seaham, County Durham, was found with two gunshot wounds to his head, and six months later, Pte James Collinson, from Perth, also 17, was found with a single gunshot wound upwards through his chin.

A suicide verdict was recorded on Pte Benton with open verdicts recorded on the other two.

A Surrey Police investigation was launched into the deaths in 2002 following pressure from the families who had called for a public inquiry.

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