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Friday, 13 December, 2002, 14:31 GMT
Deepcut deaths 'not suicide'
Deepcut Barracks
Mr Swann was allowed access to the barracks
An investigator working for families of soldiers who died in mysterious circumstances at Deepcut barracks says forensic tests prove two were not suicides.

Frank Swann told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that of the four deaths, two could not have been suicides and one was probably not.

Mr Swann was recently given permission by Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram to enter the barracks as part of his unofficial investigation.

Four deaths
Private Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales, died Nov 1995
Private Sean Benton, 20, from West Sussex, died June 1995
Geoff Gray, 17, from Hackney, died Sept 2001
Private James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland, died March 2002
Surrey Police are also investigating the deaths of the four young soldiers, all found with fatal gunshot wounds at Deepcut Barracks in separate incidents since 1995.

The MoD says all were suicide, but the Army has been criticised for losing evidence such as paperwork and soldiers clothing.

Mr Swann said the "mechanics" of how the guns that inflicted the wounds worked meant suicide was impossible with two of the victims.

"After substantial tests that we conducted, two of them we are satisfied were not self-inflicted wounds.

"One more we are 70% satisfied, without further tests which we are going to conduct.

"Lastly, the fourth one obviously we haven't conducted any tests."

Substantial speed

Mr Swann defended the tests he had used, saying they related "to the actual weapon itself".

"How many rounds it fires in a given moment in time, how far the weapon can traverse in that time.

"The bullets exit the muzzle at about 2,000 to 2,250 mph, a substantial speed.

"That and blood splatter and other considerations connected with that rule out self-infliction on two of them."

Ballistic tests

The investigator said he would be meeting police on Friday to discuss his findings and dismissed criticism of his methodology from police officers who were not aware of the tests he was using.

"As they don't know what ballistic tests we've carried out, then I find it difficult to understand how they could arrive at that conclusion.

"We did talk to them. As far as we are concerned we weren't given as much assistance as we required."


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07 Dec 02 | England
03 Dec 02 | England
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