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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Police cancel Deepcut meeting
Private Geoff Gray
Geoff Gray was one of four soldiers who died
A meeting arranged between the parents of a soldier who died at the Deepcut army barracks and senior police officers has been postponed.

The Chief Constable of Surrey and his deputy were to brief the family of Private Geoff Gray, 17, from County Durham, on forensic issues and concerns about the inquiry.

Private Gray was one of four soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

His father - also called Geoff - accused Surrey Police of "a lack of trust" in cancelling Monday's meeting because of the media interest it had attracted.

Mr Gray and his wife Diane were due to meet Surrey Police Chief Constable Denis O'Connor and Deputy Chief Constable Robert Quick at their home in Hackney, east London at 1430 BST.

The dead soldiers
Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex, 1995
Cheryl James, 18, from Llangollen, north Wales, 1995
Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, County Durham, 2001
James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland, 2002

They were expected to discuss the involvement of MoD officials, plans to improve investigations into unexplained deaths and to outline recommendations about the care and supervision of young soldiers in the Army.

But the meeting was called off at the last minute by Surrey Police after the force said it was concerned that the contents could emerge in the media before officers had been given chance to brief the families of the other recruits.

A spokesman for the force said: "A confidential and private briefing was to be held this afternoon between the Gray family and Surrey Police.

"It is clear that this private meeting can now no longer be undertaken within the spirit in which it was agreed, due to the media interest, and has been postponed.

"The offer to undertake such a briefing of the Gray family will remain, but at a time when all four families can be fully briefed together."

Public inquiry

Mr Gray said he was angry the police had called off the meeting and insisted he had not intended to reveal any confidential information to the media.

He said: "It is a lack of trust from Surrey Police in myself - it is extremely disappointing.

"I have been to highly confidential meetings at Surrey Police headquarters and not said anything.

"If I was asked to keep certain information in confidence I would keep it in confidence. It would not be in my interests to spoil my relationship with the three other families."

The families of the dead soldiers have refused to accept the theory that they committed suicide using their own rifles and have called for a public inquiry into the deaths.




SEE ALSO:
Deepcut deaths 'not murder'
29 Jul 03  |  Scotland
Deepcut 'U-turn' welcomed
17 Jul 03  |  Scotland


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