BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Families' protest at Deepcut visit
Princess Royal at Deepcut
The princess meets soldiers at Deepcut

The families of two recruits who died at an army barracks have held a silent protest during a visit by the Princess Royal.

The Princess visited the Deepcut Barracks, in Surrey, on Thursday, in her capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Logistic Corps and to mark its 10th anniversary.

Four soldiers have been found shot dead at Deepcut since 1995 - with the Army ruling they took their own lives.

The parents of two of the soldiers stood at the gates to the barracks to show their unhappiness at celebrations being held while an inquiry into the deaths is ongoing.

Geoff and Diane Gray, whose son Geoff, 17, from County Durham died at the base in 2001, were joined by the parents of James Collinson, from Perth, who also died there aged 17.

They stood at the entrance to the barracks holding four-foot high pictures of each of the four recruits.

Geoff Gray and James Collinson
Geoff Gray and James Collinson died in 2001 and 2002 respectively

They were joined by the mother and widow of Mario O'Brien Clarke, a serving soldier at Deepcut who was shot dead in Hackney, east London, on Boxing Day.

Geoff Gray, 39, said he felt the celebrations at Deepcut were inappropriate.

"The timing is wrong, she could have postponed the celebrations until the investigations were over," he said.

"It is an insult not only to us but to the kids that have died.

"It is totally insensitive. We had the respect not to protest while the war in Iraq was raging.

"Princess Anne should have shown us the same respect."

The four privates who died at Deepcut are Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen in north Wales; Sean Benton, from Hastings in East Sussex; Geoff Gray, from Seaham in County Durham; and James Collinson, from Perth, Scotland.

Cheryl James and Sean Benton
Cheryl James and Sean Benton both died at Deepcut in 1995

Mrs Gray said: "The Princess is coming here to celebrate but I don't see any cause for a celebration.

"I am hoping she has seen us and that she may instigate a public inquiry. I think she would have done if it had been her own son."

Yvonne Collinson said: "I think this is an absolute insult to the memories of those who have died here."

She said the families would keep on fighting until they found some answers to the many questions hanging over the deaths.

Surrey Police are currently re-examining evidence relating to the deaths of the four privates.

BBC London's Kurt Barling
"The protest was very quiet and dignified"

Father's anger at Deepcut visit
08 May 03  |  Wales
Expert 'solves' Deepcut deaths
27 Feb 03  |  England


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific