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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July, 2003, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Deepcut 'U-turn' welcomed
Private James Collinson
James Collinson died at Deepcut in 2002
The father of a soldier who died from gunshot wounds at Deepcut army barracks has welcomed an invitation to meet the armed forces minister.

Jim Collinson, whose son James died at the barracks last year, told BBC Radio Scotland that the Ministry of Defence had not tried to contact him until now.

Speaking from his home in Perth, Mr Collinson said the invitation to meet Adam Ingram was a "U-turn" by the MoD.

The families of three other soldiers killed by gunshot wounds at Deepcut have also been invited to meet Mr Ingram when a police investigation has been completed.

The Army has said the four deaths at the barracks in Surrey, between 1995 and 2002 were all suicides, which relatives have vehemently disputed.

The MoD needs to stop telling so many blatant lies to the general public
Jim Collinson

On Thursday Mr Collinson said he was looking forward to being able to talk to Mr Ingram face-to-face.

He said: "I will tell Mr Ingram I am not against the British Army, I just want it to be more open, more fair.

"I will tell him that the MoD needs to stop telling so many blatant lies to the general public.

'Nothing to hide'

"Up until this point, the MoD hasn't ever really spoken to us, this is a U-turn.

"They always said there was nothing to hide and yet as the investigation goes on we find atrocities that have been happening over the last 10 to 12 years and it's never been explained or investigated."

Mr Collinson said he believed the reason for the invitation was because of the police investigation currently going on at Deepcut.

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

He said: "The investigation has uncovered so many wrongdoings. So many rules have been broken.

"If this was a public company, they would have been closed down by the health and safety a long time ago."

A report from the MoD recently admitted that sexual harassment and bullying still occurred in the army.

Mr Collinson said he had been trying to tell this to the MoD since his son died.

He said: "The stories we have been told include one senior officer who actually admitted he takes so many body bags on an exercise.

"One would say to Mr Ingram, is that acceptable?"




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