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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 10:44 GMT
Deepcut sergeant denies bullying
Army Barracks
Some Deepcut recruits have been moved to speak out
An Army sergeant accused of bullying and intimidation at Deepcut barracks has dismissed the claims against him as "without foundation".

Sergeant Andrew Gavaghan was named in a BBC Panorama documentary about the barracks, where four young recruits have died of gunshot wounds in recent years.

Sergeant Gavaghan said in a statement issued through his solicitors: "A picture has been painted of me that is completely at odds with the truth.


I have always adopted a caring and professional attitude in my dealings with soldiers

Sergeant Gavaghan
"I am proud that I hold an excellent record after 22 years' service in the Army, during which time it has been shown that I have always adopted a caring and professional attitude in my dealings with soldiers."

The deaths at the Royal Logistic Corps Surrey headquarters are being investigated by Surrey police.

Sergeant Gavaghan said: "I would like to point out that I have not been interviewed by Surrey Police in connection with their inquiries... but I would welcome the opportunity to talk to them.

Libel warning

"My conscience is clear and I wish to help the inquiry in any way that I can."


We are confident in the reliability of our witnesses and we stand by the programme

Panorama
He said there was little legal action he could take against the programme during the police inquiry, but warned he would consider suing for libel after the inquiry was over.

Parents of the soldiers have repeatedly called for a public inquiry into the camp after former soldiers at the base claimed recruits there suffered physical attacks, bullying and sexual harassment.

One lance corporal told Panorama he believed 18-year-old Private Cheryl James, from Llangollen, north Wales, was driven to committing suicide after suffering sexual harassment at the camp.

Police are already investigating Private James's death as well as that of Geoff Gray, 17, from Hackney, east London; Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex; and James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland.

Allegations call

All were found at the training camp with gunshot wounds between 1995 and 2001.

Panorama also detailed allegations of five suicide attempts by troops at the barracks between June and November 1995.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "If anyone has allegations against individuals, they should be made known to the police.

"If people have allegations, they will be investigated and action could be taken where it is deemed necessary."

A BBC Panorama spokesman said: "We are confident in the reliability of our witnesses and we stand by the programme."



Background


See also:

02 Dec 02 | England
08 Nov 02 | England
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