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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
New claims over Deepcut deaths
Clockwise, from top left: Sean Benton, James Collinson, Geoff Gray and Cheryl James
Relatives of the dead refused to believe it was suicide
The father of one of the recruits who died at Deepcut Barracks has said new suggestions which throw more doubt on the suicide theory have confirmed his own feelings.

Des James from Llanymynech in Powys, whose daughter Cheryl died at the Surrey army camp, repeated his earlier call for a public inquiry into the deaths.

The others who died from gunshot injuries between 1995 and 2002 at the same barracks were Private Geoff Gray, 17, from Seaham, County Durham; Private Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex; and Private James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland.

Mr James' plea for a full investigation followed fresh reports in two Sunday newspapers which cast further doubt on claims that the young soldiers had taken their own lives.

I think there is a culture of 'protect the regiment at all costs'
Cheryl James' father, Des
The Sunday Times said Army lawyers had reviewed 15 deaths at three Army camps, and believed that some could be murder.

An anonymous source was quoted as saying : "It is simply impossible to believe that so many people could have shot themselves; often twice or more."

The Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, reported that a female private told police she felt a bullet whizz past her on the night one young soldier, Sean Benton, died at Deepcut

Des James, whose daughter was just 18 when she died from a bullet wound to the head, said he was not surprised at the new claims.

"It is yet another sad indication of the way in which the MOD and the Army have been treating not only the families, but the public at large," he said.

"I think there is a culture of 'protect the regiment at all costs', and I also believe quite passionately that they feel they are beyond any of the normal challenges that the rest of us have to face in our private lives.

"I think it is a sad fact - and I'm absolutely positive that this will come out eventually - that the major problem that created this situation we have is the Army's preoccupation with suggesting suicide immediately they have a death on their hands."

Cheryl James
Cheryl James died in 1995 of a bullet wound to the head
Mr James is still convinced that his daughter's death was not fully investigated at the time. The inquest was held just two weeks after she died, and Mr James says legal advisers have since told him that a year after her death would have been more appropriate.

He has now renewed his call for a full investigation into the Deepcut tragedies.

"My wife and I have tried very hard thsi year to steer away from speculation and to stick to the facts as we know them," he explained.

"I would be grateful if these statements could, in the fullness of time, be investigated by a public inquiry."

Deepcut report - calls for inquiry
04 Aug 03  |  North East Wales
Deepcut deaths 'not murder'
29 Jul 03  |  Scotland
Deepcut 'U-turn' welcomed
17 Jul 03  |  Scotland
Expert 'solves' Deepcut deaths
27 Feb 03  |  England

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