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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Police 'had open mind' on Deepcut
THE DEAD SOLDIERS
The four Deepcut victims
(Clockwise from top left):
Sean Benton, 20, Hastings, East Sussex
James Collinson, 17, Perth
Geoff Gray, 17, Seaham, Co Durham
Cheryl James, 18, Llangollen, Denbighshire
Surrey Police kept an open mind during a second investigation into the death of one of four army recruits at Deepcut barracks, an inquiry has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) did not substantiate a complaint by the parents of Pte Geoff Gray, of Seaham, Co Durham.

Mr and Mrs Gray complained the force pre-determined the result of its re-investigation into Pte Gray's death.

Surrey Police said it welcomed the finding of the IPCC inquiry.

Pte Gray was one of four recruits who died from bullet wounds at the Surrey training base in separate incidents between 1995 and 2002.

A review in March this year by QC Nicholas Blake found that "on the balance of probabilities" the death of Pte Gray, along with those of Ptes Sean Benton and Cheryl James, was self-inflicted.

He offered no conclusion in the death of a fourth recruit, Pte James Collinson.

I still think Surrey Police were looking down the suicide route and they have very carefully covered their back with the IPCC
Geoff Gray
Pte Gray died from two gunshot wounds to the head in September 2001.

In March 2005, his parents obtained Ministry of Defence (MoD) documents under the Freedom of Information Act which related to the Surrey Police re-investigation of the death.

An email from a civil servant at Aldershot to another at Upavon claimed "police admitted that the investigation will have the same end result - suicide".

Mr and Mrs Gray said the email was evidence that Surrey Police started with a "firm preconception" that the results of an earlier Royal Military Police investigation were correct.

But the IPCC's report states that there is no other evidence that any Surrey Police officer used the words quoted in the email.

"All of the Surrey Police officers directly involved deny they expressed such sentiments and all of the Army Officers and MoD officials deny they heard anything on these lines," the IPCC said.

The officer who supplied the claim for inclusion in the email has since died and so could not be questioned on the comment's origin.

The IPCC investigation has caused some concern to the police officers involved
Deputy Chief Constable Brian Moore
Pte Gray's father, also called Geoff, said that although his complaint had not been upheld, it was reassuring to see some of the detail of what went on "behind the scenes".

He said: "It shows the shenanigans that were going on."

But he rejected the IPCC's finding that the investigation had been open-minded.

"I still think Surrey Police were looking down the suicide route and they have very carefully covered their back with the IPCC."

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said it was "satisfied" with the IPCC's findings.

"We welcome the conclusion that the senior officers leading the investigation were determined to investigate the matters with an open mind," she said.

Deputy Chief Constable Brian Moore said: "The IPCC investigation has caused some concern to the police officers involved.

"These officers undertook a thorough and professional re-investigation into the deaths at the Deepcut army barracks.

"I am pleased that this has been recognised by the IPCC."




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