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Thursday, 4 July, 2002, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
MPs' inquiry over barrack deaths
Guard post
Two of the privates had been on guard duty
The father of a dead soldier has welcomed a Parliamentary committee's decision to investigate a series of unexplained deaths at an army barracks.

MPs from the Commons defence select committee will look into events at the Royal Logistic Corps headquarters at Deepcut, Surrey, where four soldiers have died since 1995.

The investigation will begin after Surrey Police complete an inquiry into the death of one of the soldiers, Private Geoff Gray, 17, who died from two gunshot wounds to the head while on guard duty last September.

Despite suggestions from base officials that he had committed suicide, a coroner returned an open verdict on Pte Gray in March.

The other deaths at the base were also attributed initially to suicide.


A number of members have very strong reservations about what has been going on at this camp

Mike Hancock, committee member

They were Pte James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland, who was found dead with a single gunshot wound while on guard duty at the barracks in March this year; Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, who died from gunshot wounds to his chest in June 1995 and 18-year-old Pte Cheryl James, from Llangollen, Wales, who was found dead in November 1995 with a single bullet shot to her head.

Pte Gray's father, also named Geoff, said: "The committee is going to look at the four deaths, and the whole situation there.

"It is quite a big move and it boosts our chances of getting a public inquiry, which is what we want.

"As I understand it, the committee has a right to recommend a public inquiry once it has done its investigation.

"We don't want an army board of inquiry - we want it in the public arena," said Mr Gray, 38, a caretaker from Hackney, east London.

Defence committee member Mike Hancock said the committee planned to visit Deepcut and speak to soldiers, relatives of those who died and officers at the base.

Mr Hancock said: "A number of members have very strong reservations about what has been going on at this camp."


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11 Jun 02 | England
21 May 02 | Scotland
21 May 02 | Scotland
30 Apr 02 | England
27 Mar 02 | England
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