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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 09:19 GMT
Deepcut barracks may be closed
Deepcut barracks
Police are investigating deaths at Deepcut barracks
The army barracks at the centre of an investigation into the mysterious deaths of four young soldiers may be shut down, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Deepcut Barracks in Surrey is one of eight sites which may close as part of a review of military training.

Detectives are investigating the deaths of the four - all found with gunshot wounds - at Deepcut, the headquarters of the Royal Logistics Corps.

But the father of one of the soldiers who died said the announcement was a "diversionary" tactic.


It is just one of a long string of things aimed at diverting from the real crux of things

Geoff Gray, father of Deepcut soldier found dead

Geoff Gray, 39, said the decision to include the Deepcut base on the list of sites was a "knee-jerk" reaction by the Ministry of Defence.

His son Private Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, County Durham, died while on guard duty at the Surrey base.

Mr Gray said: "The only way to sort this out is to have a public inquiry into what is going on down there.

"It should have a wider remit to look into non-combat deaths throughout the entire British army.

"If they shut the place down what happens then? Can we still have the inquiry?

"I believe they are trying to thwart it from happening."

Private Geoff Gray
Private Gray's death is one of four being examined
The Army initially insisted the deaths, between 1995 and earlier this year, were suicides - a claim disputed by the families.

Private Gray was found with two gunshot wounds to his head in September 2001.

Jim Collinson, 17, from Perth, died from gunshot wounds earlier this year.

In 1995, the body of Private Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales, was discovered with a single bullet wound to the head.

In the same year as Ms James died, 20-year-old Sean Benton from Hastings, West Sussex, was found dead with five gunshot wounds - another suicide according to the army.

The base is included in a list of those that might lose out in an MoD review aimed at "rationalising" training - including the possibility of involving the private sector.

In a written Commons statement, Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram said the armed forces could make "significant savings" and improve training by providing specialist training for all three forces at the same sites.


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08 Nov 02 | England
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