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Tuesday, 17 September, 2002, 20:27 GMT 21:27 UK
Army speaks out over Deepcut deaths
Garrison commander Clive Elderton
Brigadier Elderton denies presiding over a "death camp"
The Army has defended the regime at its Deepcut barracks in Surrey, where four soldiers have died of gunshot wounds.

Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray, and James Collinson all died at the barracks, near Camberley.

The Army says the deaths were suicide, but following pressure from the soldiers' parents a police investigation is now underway.

One year on from the death of Geoff Gray, from Seaham, County Durham, the garrison commander has denied there was bullying at the base.

Deepcut deaths
March 2002: Pte James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland
September 2001: Pte Geoff Gray, 17, from London
November 1995: Pte Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales
June 1995: Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings

Speaking to BBC London, Brigadier Clive Elderton said: "I think as garrison commander, being described by implication as someone who presides over a death camp where bullying and sexual harrassment is commonplace is deeply offensive.

"I have over 700 highly motivated, cheerful young people here who are getting on with learning their skills."

Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the death of 17-year-old Geoff Gray, who was killed by two gunshot wounds.

He was preparing to take a HGV driving test and was tipped to become a supply controller - ordering supplies for units on assignment.

His mother Diane told BBC London that his family were determined to find out what happened to their son.

She said: "It's harder for parents to cope with the grief of losing a child and the grief stops you fighting back sometimes.

But in our case, anger has made us fight on."

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BBC London's Antony Dore
"Despite almost daily critical media coverage, the Army has declined to speak."

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