Wales

Cheryl James inquest: 'Probe Deepcut allegations' call

Pte Cheryl James
Image caption Pte Cheryl James died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 1995

Calls have been made for a dossier of abuse allegations at the Deepcut Barracks to be re-examined as an inquest into a teenage recruit's death approaches its conclusion.

Pte Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, Denbighshire, was found with a bullet wound to her head in November 1995.

She was one of four soldiers who died at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

An MP wants to know what happened to abuse claims made by other soldiers.

A second inquest into Pte James's death is due to end at Woking Coroner's Court on Friday.

The army has maintained Pte James took her own life but her parents Des and Doreen James argued there was not a thorough investigation.

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Media captionMadeleine Moon MP wants abuse claims looked at

They questioned whether the culture at the base may have contributed to her death.

'The right thing to do'

Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon, a member of the Commons Defence Select committee, told Tuesday's Week In Week Out programme she wants the defence secretary to ask the army and Surrey Police what happened to soldiers who were accused by other recruits of rape, sexual and physical assaults and bullying at the base between 1995 and 2002.

The allegations were contained in a dossier prepared by Surrey Police when officers re-investigated the four deaths at the camp in 2002, and highlighted in 2006 in an independent review.

The army and Surrey Police declined to comment on the dossier, but the army said Pte James' death had a profound effect on the way it viewed its duty of care.

Ms Moon said: "If they carried out a service enquiry I don't understand why they wouldn't explain that, because that, in a sense, would be the right thing to do.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Privates Benton, James, Gray and Collinson (l-r), all died at Deepcut between 1995 and 2002

"If, instead, while other evidence was put in a box and put on a shelf and walked away from, then justice hasn't been done to anyone."

Mrs James said: "If it is your child you fight to the end. That's what any parent does. I am hoping now this will have made a pathway for those parents. They need to know there's some help out there, they will get justice eventually."

Mr James said: "I have every respect for the judge and it is possible for us to acknowledge we have gone as far as we can, given what we have."

At the beginning of the inquest, Brig John Donnelly apologised to the James family for past failings at Deepcut.

  • Week In Week Out is on BBC One Wales at 22:35 BST on Tuesday, 31 May.

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