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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 21:54 GMT
'No third party' in Deepcut deaths
Army barracks
Surrey Police are investigating claims of a culture of bullying
Detectives investigating the deaths of four young soldiers at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey have said there was no evidence so far that any third party had been involved.

Detective Chief Superintendent Craig Denholm, head of Surrey Police CID, gave a briefing on the progress of the year-long investigation on Friday.

He said: "As yet, we have no evidence of third party involvement."

Surrey Police are re-examining evidence relating to the deaths of Privates Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex; Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, County Durham; James Collinson, 17, from Perth; and Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, North Wales.

Relatives have demanded a public inquiry into the deaths and hired an independent forensic expert, who recently spent more than six weeks at the barracks.

What we have not done is uncover a huge problem with the British Army with bullying
Det Supt Craig Denholm

The families of the four soldiers have refused to accept that they committed suicide using their own rifles and have accused the Army of a cover-up.

Mr Denholm said no allegations of murder had been made during the course of the inquiry.

Handling of families

He said: "There was an individual who was suggesting that he might have witnessed something. We could not find any evidence of that."

He said many people had contacted Surrey police about the investigation, but most of those had been in the Army some time ago, or had not served at Deepcut.

But he refused to say whether or not the inquiry, which has taken statements from more than 850 people, had identified a culture of bullying at the barracks.

The families and former soldiers claim recruits at Deepcut were subjected to unfair treatment.

But Mr Denholm said: "What we have not done is uncover a huge problem with the British Army with bullying and rape and purging and God knows what else."

Surrey Police have made recommendations to the Army relating to the control of lethal weapons and more sensitive handling of families.




SEE ALSO:
Money 'taken from recruit'
09 Feb 03 |  UK News
Fear and violence at Deepcut
01 Dec 02 |  Panorama


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