Parents hope truth will emerge at new inquest into Deepcut death

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RELATIVES of soldier Cheryl James have spoken of their hope that the circumstances surrounding her death at Deepcut barracks will emerge more than 20 years after the tragedy.

High Court judges have ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Pte James after her family applied for a fresh investigation with the consent of the Attorney General.

Pte James, 18, was found dead from a single gunshot wound in November 1995, and an inquest recorded an open verdict. She was one of four soldiers who died at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse. Privates Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray also died from gunshot wounds.

Her parents, Des and Doreen James, applied through the human rights campaign group Liberty for a new inquest after the Human Rights Act was used to secure access to documents held by the authorities about the teenager’s death.

Mr and Mrs James said they were “delighted” to have a fresh inquest but “a meaningful inquiry into Cheryl’s death is almost 20 years late”.

In a statement, they said: “When young people die in violent circumstances, a rigorous and transparent investigation should be automatic. Something went dreadfully wrong at Deepcut yet until now no-one has bothered to look at how and why our daughter died.

“We can only hope that Cheryl’s legacy helps change the current ineffective and discredited military justice system.”