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 Panorama
Deepcut deaths 'were suicide'
Families of the dead soldiers were convinced they didn't commit suicide
Families of the dead soldiers have dismissed suicide theories
The cases of four soldiers who were found dead at an army barracks in Surrey were probably suicide, according to a Home Office pathologist.

Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray, and James Collinson died from gunshot wounds while on sentry duty at the Deepcut barracks in Surrey.

The army said all four cases were suicide, but some of their parents disagree and have been calling for a public inquiry into their deaths.

However BBC One's Panorama programme on Sunday will reveal that the manners of the deaths were consistent with suicide.

Self-inflicted

Five shots is unusual but it doesn't mean that it's not suicide

Home Office pathologist Dick..
The programme was given exclusive access to the photographs of Sean Benton's body which were taken at the scene of his death.

They were studied by a Home Office pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd and a ballistics expert, who both came up with the same conclusion - the evidence is consistent with suicide.

Dr Richard Shepherd said: "Five shots is unusual but it doesn't mean that it's not suicide and we can in this particular case explain all these injuries as self inflicted."

The parents of Private Geoff Gray also refuse to believe that he took his own life, saying that he had been happy on the night of his death.

His girlfriend had spoken to him that evening and described him as his "normal, happy self" .

Prime of life

Private Geoff Gray
Geoff Gray was his "normal happy self" before he died

Private Geoff Gray had been on guard duty on the night he died. He went roaming around the base on his own but was found later with two gunshot wounds to the head.

The inquest into his death recorded an open verdict, with the coroner saying he could not find that Private Gray took his own life, but also could not find any substantial evidence to say someone else was involved.

His mother Diane Gray said: "I don't think there will ever come a time when I can accept Geoff took his own life. He was such a happy-go-lucky person in the prime of his life."

But the experts who have looked at the evidence for Panorama, who also had access to pictures of his body, agreed that the evidence in this case pointed towards suicide.

They said that unless the coroner had real evidence of murder it would have to be thought of as a self-inflicted death.

Single wound

Private James Collinson was 17 when he died in March of this year. He borrowed a rifle and went off alone. He was later found dead with a single gunshot to his head.

The teenager's body was exhumed for a second post-mortem in October. But even that report concluded that his injuries were consistent with being self-inflicted.

His parents still refuse to believe that report, saying that they believe he would never take his own life and must have been murdered.

But again the experts disagree. They say that the wound is consistent with being self-inflicted.

Panorama: Bullied to Death? will be broadcast on Sunday, December 1 on BBC One at 2245 GMT

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Yvonne Collinson
"He was just happy go lucky as he always was..."
Dr Richard Shepherd
"Everything points to this being self-inflicted..."


Background


Links to more Panorama stories are at the foot of the page.


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