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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 16:57 GMT
Timeline: Deaths at Deepcut barracks
The Army says the Deepcut deaths were suicide
The Army says the Deepcut deaths were suicide
The families of four young soldiers who died at Deepcut barracks in Surrey are renewing their calls for an immediate public inquiry.

BBC News Online details the key events in their campaign.


June 1995 - Private Sean Benton, from Hastings, East Sussex, was found dead at the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, with five bullet wounds to his chest. Despite ballistics tests suggesting that only one bullet was fired from close range and the others from a distance, the Army said he had committed suicide.

Private Cheryl James was found with a bullet through her forehead
Private Cheryl James was found with a bullet through her forehead
November 1995 - Pte Cheryl James, 18, of Llangollen, Gwent, was found dead with a single bullet wound to the head at the barracks - headquarters of the Royal Logistical Corps. An Army inquiry concluded she had committed suicide and Surrey Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the death but a coroner recorded an open verdict.

September 2001 - Pte Geoff Gray, 17, from Hackney, east London, was found with two gunshot wounds to his head while on guard duty. Five shots had been fired and the other three bullets have not been found. A coroner recorded an open verdict after hearing from witnesses that during a search after the shots were fired a figure was seen running away.

Private Geoff Gray
Geoff Gray died from two gunshot wounds
23 March, 2002 - Pte James Collinson, 17, from Perth, was found dead with a single gunshot wound while on guard duty at the barracks. The Army said he killed himself, but his parents do not accept this, insisting he had been happy. No inquest has been held.

30 April - Surrey Police opened an investigation into the deaths of Pte Gray and Pte Collinson after campaigning by the families.

10 June - The families of the four soldiers called for a public inquiry into their deaths at a meeting in Westminster hosted by the Labour MP Kevin McNamara. They said that official investigations into the deaths amounted to a "cover-up" and claimed their children may have been killed.

Sean Benton was found dead with five gunshot wounds
Sean Benton was found dead with five gunshot wounds

4 July - The Commons Defence Select Committee announced it will investigate the deaths of the soldiers after the police inquiry concludes. The parents of Cheryl James claimed she had been forced into a sexual relationship with a corporal.

5 July - Surrey Police confirmed that detectives were reviewing the deaths of Pte James and Pte Benton as part of their inquiry.

25 July - The Army admitted it had destroyed some of the bloodied uniforms of soldiers.

26 July - Kevin McNamara, Labour MP for Hull North, said he was amazed that forensic evidence had been destroyed and called for a public inquiry.

2 October - An independent ballistics expert in BBC documentary concluded it would have been impossible for Pte Gray to have killed himself.

Pte James Collinson
James Collinson's body was exhumed this month
October 3 - The body of James Collinson was exhumed from a grave in Scotland. A pathologist carried out second more detailed post-mortem examination to try to establish how he died.

24 October - Police take charge of investigations into all untimely deaths of soldiers under new rules prompted by the four fatalities at the Deepcut base.

28 October - The Ministry of Defence promised a review of training procedures in the armed forces, focusing on whether training is too harsh, while cracking down on bullying and sexual harassment.

29 October - The families of the four dead soldiers join forces again to call for a public inquiry.


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