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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November 2004, 19:03 GMT
Deepcut 'abuses' leaked in report
Soldiers' families
The soldiers' families believe their deaths were not suicides
A police investigation of the Deepcut army base in Surrey has unearthed claims of rape, racism, beatings and harassment, a leaked report says.

Parts of an inquiry into the deaths of four recruits, leaked to Channel 4, contain more than 150 allegations about Deepcut and other bases.

Geoff Gray, whose 17-year-old son died at the base, said he felt "sick" that his son had gone to an "evil place".

Surrey Police stressed the allegations were "untested" and advised caution.

The claims range from incidents of bullying to serious assault.

A public inquiry into four deaths at the barracks has previously been ruled out by Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram.

In May, he insisted that Surrey Police's inquiries and other investigations had found no evidence "to indicate any prospect of a prosecution directly related to these deaths".

Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, Durham; James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Cheryl James, 18, from north Wales and Sean Benton, 20, of Hastings, East Sussex, all died from gunshot wounds.

The families do not accept that the deaths of the four soldiers were suicides.

Many of the incidents are drawn from untested and uncorroborated witness recollection, made in some cases by third parties
Surrey Police
The allegations of abuse at the base were leaked to former BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan who is working on Channel 4 Dispatches programme and carried in a piece written by him for London's Evening Standard newspaper.

They formed part of a "schedule" provided by Surrey Police to the House of Commons Defence Committee in October.

The only successful prosecution relating to abuse at the base has been that of Leslie Skinner, an army instructor jailed for four and a half years for sex attacks on male recruits.

The Evening Standard said Surrey Police's report focused on 1995, 2001 and 2002, the years in which the recruits died.

From those years it found 61 allegations of assault and 12 allegations of indecent assault, as well as eight allegations of rape or gang rape.

The MoD said it still maintained there was no culture of abuse in either Deepcut or the Army at large and warned that the majority of the allegations were either unsubstantiated or based on hearsay.

It said it had asked Surrey Police to contact those who made allegations in an effort to investigate the more serious claims. Only two were willing to have their names given to military police, and the MoD is waiting for Surrey Police to pass these over.

Any investigation would have to be carried out by the Royal Military Police. Some allegations in the schedule have been investigated before, a spokesman said.

Uncorroborated statements

Surrey Police stressed that although the allegations arose out of inquiries into Deepcut they also related to other Army sites.

"The annexes referred to are schedules of incidents which were supplied to the Defence Select Committee in confidence to assist them with their Duty of Care Inquiry.

"The allegations are all derived from interviews and investigations carried out by Surrey Police as part of our inquiry into the deaths at the Deepcut Barracks.

"They are examples of bullying, and in some cases criminal offences, that were given to us as we carried out our inquiry and are, in effect a by-product of the investigation. They relate to alleged incidents that took place in a number of Army premises, not just Deepcut.

"It is also important to stress that many of the incidents are drawn from untested and uncorroborated witness recollection, made in some cases by third parties. They should therefore be treated with the necessary and appropriate levels of caution.

"Where appropriate the offences will either be investigated by Surrey Police or handed over to the Army, who have been given a copy of the entire annexes and have indicated their intention to deal with any issues referred to them."




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