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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 August, 2004, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Deepcut family demand new inquest
Private Cheryl James
Private Cheryl James and three others died at the base
The family of a Welsh soldier who died at Deepcut army barracks in Surrey are demanding a second inquest.

Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales, was one of four recruits who died from gunshots.

The government has previously decided against a public inquiry into deaths at the base, sparking anger amongst the families.

Pte James was found with a single gunshot to her head in 1995 with an inquest recording an open verdict.

The Surrey coroner has refused to hold a second inquest, leading Pte James's family to apply to the attorney general to overturn the decision.

The family have campaigned vigorously for a public inquiry into the death of their daughter and three other recruits, aged 17 to 20, at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

The dead woman's father, Des James, said he saw a second inquest as a "stepping stone" to the public inquiry.

'No fit state'

"The government has forced us into doing this by their total refusal to accept the need for a public inquiry into the deaths of those four kids at Deepcut.

"My daughter's inquest took place three weeks after her death, and four days before Christmas.

"My wife and I were in no fit state to ask the questions that we should have asked. We were not advised we could have legal representation and so those questions weren't asked.

"We have new evidence to submit, from an independent expert witness, who says there was a third party present when my daughter died."

A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office said: "We have received a request for authority for a new inquest.

"Departmental lawyers have written back offering condolences and requesting further information.

"Once we have that information, we will seek the views of the coroner.

"Only the High Court can order a fresh inquest, but the attorney must give consent to apply."

'No surprise' for Deepcut father
24 May 04  |  North East Wales

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