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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 13:44 GMT
Timeline: Deaths at Deepcut
Deepcut barracks
The Army says the Deepcut deaths were suicide
The Ministry of Defence is expected to announce the closure of Surrey's Deepcut Barracks - which has been the focus of abuse allegations following the deaths of four soldiers at the site.

The key events in the case follow:

June 1995 - Private Sean Benton, of Hastings, East Sussex, is found dead at the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, with five bullet wounds to his chest. Despite ballistics tests suggesting only one bullet was fired from close range and the others from a distance, the Army says he committed suicide.

November 1995 - Private Cheryl James, 18, of Llangollen, Denbighshire, is found dead with a single bullet wound to her head at the barracks - headquarters of the Royal Logistical Corps. An Army inquiry concludes she committed suicide. Surrey Police say they are not looking for anyone else but a coroner records an open verdict.

September 2001 - Private Geoff Gray, 17, from Hackney, east London, is found with two gunshot wounds to his head while on guard duty. Five shots had been fired and the other three bullets were not found. A coroner records an open verdict after hearing that a figure was seen running away from the area.

23 March, 2002 - Private James Collinson, 17, from Perth, is found dead with a single gunshot wound upwards through his chin while on guard duty at the barracks. The Army says he killed himself, but his parents do not accept this, insisting he had been happy. No inquest is held.

Private Cheryl James
Private Cheryl James died from a single bullet wound to the head

30 April - Surrey Police open an investigation into the deaths of Pte Gray and Pte Collinson after campaigning by the families.

10 June - The families of all four soldiers call for a public inquiry into their deaths.

4 July - The Commons Defence Select Committee announces it will investigate the deaths when the police inquiry ends. The parents of Cheryl James claim she had been forced into a sexual relationship with a corporal.

5 July - Surrey Police confirm they are also investigating the deaths of Pte James and Pte Benton.

25 July - The Army admits it has destroyed some of the bloodied uniforms of soldiers.

26 July - Kevin McNamara, Labour MP for Hull North, calls for a public inquiry.

2 October - An independent ballistics expert in a BBC documentary concludes it would have been impossible for Pte Gray to have killed himself.

24 October - Police take charge of investigations into all untimely deaths of soldiers under new rules prompted by the deaths at the Deepcut base.

29 November - Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram gives the go-ahead for investigator Frank Swann to enter the barracks.

3 December - An Army sergeant accused of bullying and intimidation at Deepcut barracks dismisses the claims.

7 December - A female recruit says she was the victim of a series of sexual assaults and then raped by a corporal at Deepcut.

Private James Collinson
Private James Collinson was 17 when he died

13 January 2003 - Forensics expert Frank Swann begins his investigation at the base.

17 February - Amnesty International backs calls for a public inquiry into the four deaths.

7 March - Detectives investigating the deaths say there is no evidence so far that any third party had been involved.

8 May - The families of two of the dead soldiers hold a silent protest during a visit by the Princess Royal.

2 August - Surrey Police postpone releasing their findings after reading Frank Swann's submission, which cast doubt on the Army's version of events.

10 August - Fresh reports in two Sunday newspapers suggest that the young soldiers did not take their own lives.

21 October - Surrey police officers who investigated the deaths have their inquiry reviewed by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

9 November - Private Geoff Gray's father honours his dead son on Remembrance Day.

3 March 2004 - A final police report into the deaths of the four soldiers is issued to their families.

4 March - MPs call for a new inquiry after Surrey Police's final report highlights shortcomings in the Army's approach to training.

27 April - A public inquiry is formally ruled out by defence secretary Geoff Hoon.

14 May - The government delays a response to Surrey Police's critical report following the row over the Daily Mirror Iraq abuse photos, which later turn out to be fake.

23 Sept - The Ministry of Defence confirms it is investigating new claims of abuse at Deepcut Army barracks in Surrey, but says the individual in the new investigation was not at the base at the same time as the four recruits who died.

13 October - Dennis O'Connor, the Surrey Police ex-chief constable who investigated the four deaths, tells MPs at the defence select committee that Deepcut training was "tough, unquestioning and fatalistic".

22 October - An army instructor from Deepcut, 46-year-old Leslie Skinner, is jailed for four and a half years after admitting five indecent assaults between 1992 and 1997 on four male soldiers.

Private Sean Benton
Private Sean Benton was found with five bullet wounds to the chest

29 November - A leaked report from Surrey Police reveals more than 150 abuse allegations about Deepcut and other bases.

30 November - Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram announces an independent review will be held into the abuse allegations in the leaked report.

8 December - Commons leader Peter Hain says the deaths of four young soldiers at the Deepcut Army barracks are "too many to be a coincidence".

27 January 2005 - Shadow defence minister Gerald Howarth backs a family's demand for a further inquest into Deepcut barracks following fresh evidence on the death of Private Geoff Gray, 17, from Durham.

17 February 2005 - The Ministry of Defence admits liability over the death of Warrant Officer Adrian Smith, 41, of the Royal Logistics Corps, who died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 1999.

4 March 2005 - The widow of Warrant Officer Adrian Smith wins a five-year battle for compensation.

14 March 2005 - A report by the Commons Defence Select Committee accuses the Army of failing in the way it handles new recruits and allowing bullying to go unreported.

The MPs' report recommends a new independent complaints panel and looks at raising the minimum age for joining up to 18, but does not call for a public inquiry into four deaths at Deepcut barracks.

21 March 2005 - A report by the Adult Learning Inspectorate, commissioned by Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram after the Surrey Police report, calls for root and branch reform of training in all three armed forces.

It says the risk to recruits of bullying, self-harm, injury and early drop-out is "too high".

Private Geoff Gray
Private Gray was found with two gunshot wounds to the head

22 March 2005 - Deputy high court judge Nicholas Blake, QC, appeals for service personnel past and present to speak to his Deepcut Review, established three months earlier.

He says the terms of reference will be broad, and consider "any factor that may have influenced the deaths and the manner in which they were investigated".

4 November 2005 - The Surrey Police inquiry is sharply criticised in a review by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Detectives decided too quickly the deaths were all suicides, there was a "lack of focus" and guidelines "were not followed", the review concluded.

10 March 2006 - An open verdict in the death of Pte Collinson is returned after an inquest at Epsom Magistrates' Court.

The jury heard that minutes before his death he had borrowed an SA80 rifle, which he was too young to carry under Deepcut rules.

29 March 2006 - A report of an independent review of the deaths, conducted by Nicholas Blake QC, criticises army training, describing "harassment, discrimination and oppressive behaviour", but concludes that the deaths he investigated were probably self-inflicted. Mr Blake rules out the need for a public inquiry but recommends the appointment of an independent Ombudsman for the armed forces.

13 June 2006 - Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram responds to the Blake report, saying the government accepts "the great majority" of his recommendations, and plans to establish an independent commissioner for dealing with complaints made by service personnel or their families.

8 January 2008 - Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth announces that the Princess Royal Barracks at Deepcut are to be sold off but not until 2013.

Des James, the father of Cheryl James, told the BBC he did not want to see the camp "flattened before any meaningful inquiry has taken place".

He added: "Obviously that would conflict and be a big problem for an inquiry."



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