The Princess Royal Barracks at Deepcut in Surrey, England (pictured), is a sinister place.
Between 1995 and 2002 there were four deaths of young Army recruits at Deepcut.
- On 9 June 1995, Private Sean Benton, 20, died from five bullet wounds in his chest.
- On 27 November 1995, Private Cheryl James, 18, died from a single bullet wound in her head.
- On 17 September 2001, Private Geoff Gray, 17, died from two gunshot wounds in his head.
- On 23 March 2002, Private James Collinson, 17, died from a single gunshot wound in his head.
The Surrey police and the Royal Military police investigated the deaths and the Coroner’s inquest into each resulted in a verdict of suicide.
How anyone manages to shoot himself in the chest five times before dying is a mystery that has never been satisfactorily cleared up.
What is clear is that Deepcut has – or had – some Army trainers who delighted in bullying, sexual harassment, and quite possibly murder, of young people.
Now, after lengthy and courageous persistent pressure by his family, Private Sean Benton’s death is to have a fresh inquest;the case will be heard in London’s High Court, after Benton’s family were given permission by the Attorney General to apply for a new hearing.
The original inquest in Benton’s death took less than two hours and heard evidence from just six people; a criminal investigation seven years later found no evidence of third-party involvement.
Benton’s medical and mental health records were not obtained and no evidence was sought or given about his experiences at Deepcut.
The Ministry of Defence, Surrey police, the Royal Military police, and many others may well be guilty of a long-standing cover-up. It’s difficult to believe that they will be prepared to reveal the truth after all this time.
Picture source: Roger via Wikimedia Commons