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Were young soldiers killed deliberately?

THE parents of a young soldier mysteriously found shot dead in Deepcut have forced police to reopen their investigation because they believe he was murdered.

THE parents of a young soldier mysteriously found shot dead in Deepcut have forced police to reopen their investigation because they believe he was murdered.

Pte Geoff Gray, 17, was killed by bullets from his own gun while on guard duty at the Princess Royal Barracks last September.

He was found with two head wounds and the Army has always insisted that he committed suicide.

But each wound would have killed him outright, meaning that he would have had to reload his weapon after being fatally injured.

However at the inquest into his death, Surrey coroner Michael Burgess recorded an open verdict, saying: "I do not find that he took his own life but nor do I find that there is any other evidence to explain his death."

Despite their relief that the coroner did not record a suicide verdict, Pte Gray's parents Geoff and Diane are unhappy with the original investigation carried out by the Royal Military Police and had demanded that the case be reopened.

When a second soldier, Pte James Collinson, was found shot dead at the same barracks in March this year, they were horrified and called for action.

As a result Surrey Police have reviewed the case and agree that further explanations are needed.

In a statement they said: "Having listened to the concerns of the family of Pte Geoff Gray, Surrey Police reviewed the case.

"As a result of the review the force has decided to reinvestigate the death and appointed a senior officer, Det Ch Insp Colin Sutton.

"The same officer has also taken responsibility for the investigation into the death of Pte James Collinson.

"New to both inquiries, DCI Sutton will bring a completely open mind to the process."

The Grays have welcomed the news."We are over the moon that the case has been reopened and, hopefully, at long last, we will get some answers," Mrs Gray said.

"Whether this is a political move, or whether it has come about because the massive media interest has caused embarrassment, we don't know.

"If Geoff's death had been investigated thoroughly in the first place we would never have had to go this far."

The circumstances surrounding his death have been shrouded in mystery after several discrepancies were brought to light at the inquest over the number of shots fired.

The Grays also claim their son had a black eye, bruises on his chest and two bright red lines around his neck when they went to view his body.

And, in a new twist, police have revealed that they are aware of two other potentially suspicious deaths of soldiers at the Deepcut barracks in 1995.

Pte Cheryl James, 18, was discovered in November 1995 lying in woodland just outside the garrison.

She had been on patrol and was found with her rifle lying next to her.

Six months earlier Pte Sean Benton, 20, was found dead with five gunshot wounds, four of which were understood to have been fired from long range.

It was reported that the Army classified both deaths as "intentional and self-inflicted".

Mrs Gray said: "In a way it is worrying because we have no idea what the investigation will uncover about how our son died.

"But we will not be able to rest until all the facts have come out."


Charlotte Neal
Chief Reporter (Aldershot)
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Ros Collins
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