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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 04:42 GMT
Parents push for Deepcut inquiry
Soldiers' families
The soldiers' families believe their deaths were not suicides
Parents of soldiers who died at the Deepcut army base are expected to push MPs on Wednesday for a public inquiry.

The parents are to give evidence to the House of Commons defence committee looking at the treatment of armed forces recruits.

A police probe into the deaths of four recruits at the base uncovered over 100 claims of rape, racism and beatings.

A review of abuse claims at Deepcut has been announced, but the parents want a full inquiry to be held.

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

A memorandum from Surrey Police made public on Monday included 173 allegations of abuse relating to the base, including nine rape accusations.

Mr Ingram has clearly been embarrassed by the coverage the press has given to this issue
Des James
Soldier's father
Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told MPs all but three of the rape claims had been, or were being, investigated.

Police found two of the three other cases to be unsubstantiated hearsay accounts, he said.

He said a full inquiry was not necessary but promised a "fully independent figure" would carry out a review of the abuse claims.

'One step'

Diane Gray, mother of Private Geoff Gray, one of the four soldiers who died at Deepcut, said the review was "one step in the right direction".

But she said still held out hope that Mr Ingram would have a "change of heart" and see the need for a full inquiry.

"I think he is the only person in Britain who does not see the need for one," she said.

"We do need an independent, public inquiry where it needs to be transparent, where a judge can call witnesses in and force them to give evidence."

Des James, whose daughter Cheryl who was found dead at Deepcut nine years ago, called the review a "knee-jerk reaction".

Deepcut barracks
The deaths at Deepcut took place between 1995 and 2002
He said: "Mr Ingram has clearly been embarrassed by the coverage the press has given to this issue and the outpouring of public feeling it has provoked."

Jim and Yvonne Collinson, from Perth, whose son James died at Deepcut, will also put their case to the committee of MPs.

Announcing the establishment of the review on Tuesday, Mr Ingram acknowledged the abuse claims were "serious issues".

"While I am satisfied that all that can be done is being done, there is a need for this to be seen to be done.

"I therefore accept the case for a further review by a fully independent figure."

He denied that the MoD was trying to cover up anything that may have taken place at Deepcut and insisted the police document did not prove a "culture of fear and violence" operated there.

The Liberal Democrats have endorsed the call for a full inquiry, while Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth said one may now be inevitable.

"Unless the Ministry of Defence can convince the British people that the training regime has recaptured trust in its ability to exercise a proper duty of care, it is clear that only a public inquiry will suffice," he said.

Families are still calling for a public inquiry

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