[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 19:04 GMT
Deepcut soldier 'wanted to leave'
Private James Collinson
Pte James Collinson died from a single gunshot wound
A soldier found shot dead at Deepcut barracks in Surrey had twice asked to leave the army, an inquest has heard.

Pte James Collinson, 17, of Perth, had requested application forms for early discharge in the months before his death in March 2002, a trainer said.

Cpl Stephen Adlam told the hearing that Pte Collinson was considered to be a promising soldier.

The hearing follows inquests into the deaths of three other Deepcut soldiers, from Sussex, Wales and County Durham.

On Wednesday, the inquest heard that the teenager told his superiors he feared his dyslexia would hinder his progress.

'Appeared down'

During his basic training he had been "back-squadded" for not meeting required standards, the hearing at Epsom Magistrates' Court was told.

The jury heard the last time Pte Collinson said he wished to leave the army was shortly before Christmas 2001.

Cpl Adlam said: "We convinced him and encouraged him enough to stay within the system and complete his training."

Pte Collinson passed out from basic training on 18 January, 2002, at a parade attended by his family.

I don't think any of the soldiers were happy
Pte Jolene Baker
He was found dead, two months later, from a gunshot wound to the head, while on guard patrol.

The hearing heard Pte Collinson had on occasions "appeared down" about his parents splitting up.

On the night of Pte Collinson's death, he had been present at a discussion about the death of Pte Geoff Gray - the army said he committed suicide but an open verdict was recorded at an inquest.

Pte Jolene Baker, a friend of Pte Collinson, said: "James did not say anything. He just looked at the ground."

She said he appeared to be in a good mood, laughing and shouting as he went to the minibus to be dropped off for guard duty.

And she said he was not being bullied, as far as she knew.

'Not treated nicely'

Pte Baker said she had since left the army because she was unhappy at her treatment.

"I was not being bullied, but I was not treated nicely," she said.

"I don't think any of the soldiers were happy at Deepcut."

She told the hearing about one occasion when she went to her squadron sergeant major with a problem.

"She starting shouting and told me 'don't be so pathetic, get out, come back when you have finished blubbering'."

The hearing follows previous inquests into the deaths at the barracks of Pte Sean Benton, from Hastings, Pte Cheryl James, from Llangollen, and Pte Geoff Gray, from Seaham.

The case was adjourned until Thursday.

Soldier 'had personal problems'
28 Feb 06 |  England
Deepcut death 'accounts altered'
21 Feb 06 |  England
Shot soldier 'talked of suicide'
20 Feb 06 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific