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Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 15:13 GMT
Money 'taken from recruit'
James Collinson with his mother Yvonne
James Collinson's parents are 'gutted' by the discovery
Money was removed from a young soldier's bank account nine days after his mysterious death at Deepcut Army barracks in Surrey, according to investigators.

Police probing the death of 17-year-old Private James Collinson, from Perth, have reportedly learned that two transactions were made on the eve of the recruit's funeral in March of last year.

It is bad enough to bury your son, but then to find out that someone might have stolen from him is even worse

Jim Collinson
"The disappearance of the money has left the family deeply hurt," James' father Jim Collinson said.

"We are absolutely gutted by this sick twist. It is bad enough to bury your son, but then to find out that someone might have stolen from him is even worse."

Surrey Police told the Collinsons about the discovery last week. But investigators informed the couple that the withdrawal may not be linked to James' death.

"The police are very concerned about this development and are treating it is a matter of urgency," Mr Collinson said.

"But there is nothing to suggest the money being taken was connected with his death."

Mysterious deaths

The circumstances of James Collinson's death and the fatal shootings of three other Privates at Deepcut - Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales, Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, Co Durham, Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex and James Collinson, 17, from Perth - are currently being reinvestigated by Surrey Police.

All four died from gun wounds at the barracks between 1995 and last year. Their families believe the soldiers were murdered, rejecting official theories that they took their own lives.

An independent forensic expert hired by the families is currently examining the areas where the soldiers died at the camp.

Jim Collinson
Collinson said the money may not be connected to his son's death
MPs asked for an independent judicial inquiry during an adjournment debate in the Commons last week.

Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik told Parliament that uncertainties about the deaths needed to be clarified.

He said: "The army must accept that these kind of uncertainties are not only against the interests of the army in recruitment terms, but also work against the interests of natural justice."

Mr Opik also urged the government to set up an independent inquiry.

Bugging denied

In the same Commons debate, Perth MP Annabelle Ewing challenged Armed Forces Minister Lewis Moonie to reassure the Collinson family that no government department had sanctioned the bugging of their home.

Deepcut barracks
Four fatal shootings took place at Deepcut barracks
Jim and Yvonne Collinson, who believed their son was murdered at Deepcut, claim evidence of monitoring equipment was found after Tayside detectives swept their Perth house.

But the police say no such equipment was found and the Ministry of Defence says the Collinsons' claims are misguided.

Ms Ewing asked Mr Moonie: "Perhaps you can take the opportunity to reassure the Collinson family and indeed anybody else that there has been no UK department or agency under the responsibility of a UK department involved in any way, in any form of bugging of the Collinson family home."

Mr Moonie said the Surrey Police investigation would not conclude until early March.


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04 Feb 03 | Scotland
07 Dec 02 | England
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