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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Deepcut families in royal protest
Ptrivate Geoff Gray
Private Geoff Gray was 17 when died at the Deepcut barracks

The parents of a County Durham soldier killed at an Army barracks are to protest when the Princess Royal visits to celebrate the regiment's 10th anniversary.

Private Geoff Gray, from Seaham, County Durham, was one of four soldiers who died of gunshot wounds at the Royal Logistics Corps HQ at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Deepcut, Surrey, between 1995 and 2002.

He was 17 when he died from two gunshot wounds to the head in September, 2001.

The deaths are the subject of a police inquiry after an Army verdict of suicide was disputed by the families who hired a private investigator to look into the case.

Princess Anne, who is Colonel-in-Chief of the barracks, is to visit on 8 May.

Her arrival will be met with a silent protest from the bereaved parents of Private Gray, who will hold up photographs of their son.

'Totally inappropriate'

The relatives of other soldiers who died at the barracks are also due to attend.

Private Gray's father, also called Geoff, said: "I feel it is totally inappropriate for this visit to take place while these investigations are going on.

"There will be a four feet height photograph of my son and all the other kids.

"We want to make sure she knows she shouldn't be there."

The other photographs will show, James Collinson, 17, who was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head in March 2002, Private Sean Benton, 20, found dead in June 1995, and Private Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales.

An Army spokeswoman said Princess Anne had been invited to attend the anniversary some time in advance and did not want to disappoint her hosts.

She said it was not felt necessary to cancel or postpone the visit because no findings in the inquiry had yet been given.

The families want a public inquiry into the deaths.

Surrey Police is re-examining evidence and an independent forensic expert hired by the families recently spent more than six weeks at the barracks.

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