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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 18:42 GMT
Soldier 'had personal problems'
Private James Collinson
Pte James Collinson died from a single gunshot wound
A soldier found shot dead at Deepcut barracks seemed to have gone through an "emotional rollercoaster" in the months before his death, an inquest has heard.

Psychologist Dr Caroline Logan told Epsom Magistrates' Court that Pte James Collinson, of Perth, was dyslexic.

The inquest heard it could have affected the 17-year-old's ability to deal with personal problems.

Inquests were previously held into the deaths of three other Deepcut soldiers, from Sussex, Wales and County Durham.

'Disobeyed order'

Dr Lucas told the hearing on Tuesday that Pte Collinson had had to deal with the separation of his parents and the break-up of his relationship with girlfriend Pte Sabrina Baird.

In addition "there was the emotional rollercoaster of joining the army and then deciding it was perhaps not for him and being persuaded to stay", she said.

He had also been "back-coursed" after failing to meet the standard in part of his training at the Surrey barracks.

She also told the inquest that on the Thursday before Pte Collinson died he had disobeyed an order to wash food containers.

"That had been rather unusual for him," Dr Logan said.

The four Deepcut victims
Clockwise from top left: Sean Benton, James Collinson, Geoff Gray and Cheryl James

Earlier, the hearing heard more evidence from the soldier who said he had given his rifle to Pte Collinson during their guard duty on 23 March, 2002.

Pte John Donnelly said he had given him the gun, along with a cigarette, as "a favour" because the teenager had wanted to smoke under the guise of patrolling the perimeter fence.

He admitted he had acted in an "unprofessional" way by handing over the SA80 rifle to someone too young to be given a weapon on guard duty.

"At the time I was a young, inexperienced recruit. I didn't think about handing him the weapon. I thought I was doing him a favour," he said.

'Signs of life'

During exchanges with John Cooper, representing the Collinson family, Pte Donnelly was accused of involvement in Pte Collinson's death.

He said on finding the body of the recruit after hearing a shot ring out, he touched Pte Collinson to check for signs of life.

However, he denied that he or Pte Stacy McGrath had tampered with the body or the gun.

When asked by Mr Cooper if Pte Collinson had shown signs of suicidal tendency in his presence, Pte Donnelly said: "No, he didn't."

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

The case was adjourned until Wednesday.

Deepcut death 'accounts altered'
21 Feb 06 |  England
Shot soldier 'talked of suicide'
20 Feb 06 |  England

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