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Parents of Deepcut soldier denied access to his military files

FOUND DEAD: Private Geoff Gray.

FOUND DEAD: Private Geoff Gray.

THE parents of a solider found dead at his base have been denied access to his Army files.

Geoff and Diane Gray’s son Geoff died in 2001, when the private was found with two gunshot wounds to his head at the Deepcut Barracks.

He was one of four recruits found dead in suspicious circumstances between 1995 and 2002, with the families of each campaigning to find out the full facts about what happened.

While the Army believes they committed suicide, their loved ones have called for a public inquiry.

The Grays are sure that another solider fired his weapon that evening and say evidence has been destroyed.

The family of Private Cheryl James have been give permission to seek a new inquest after unearthing new evidence, which has given the Grays hope for a new hearing into their son’s death.

Their lawyer John Cooper QC was recently told by Surrey Police his team could access the files on Geoff’s case and requested the same from the Army - but the request was refused.

The Army has instead told the family they can apply for details through the Freedom of Information Act, which has a £600 cost limit imposed by central Government.

Geoff Snr, who is a supporter of the Army but critical of its handling of his son’s case, has described the refusal by the military to release information as “pathetic”.

He said: “I am asking about my dead son here, not about the number of shovels and spades they bought at Deepcut.

“If they want a transparent organisation that looks after young recruits, they have got to look after them in death as well as in life.”

Diane added: “The Army’s reply was disgraceful. They’ve just brushed us off.

“They have done from the beginning, as soon as Geoff was dead. They wanted rid of us.

“We will fight tooth an nail to find out what happened.” In a letter to the family’s lawyer, John Cooper QC, the Army said it would not release any information because it was under no legal obligation to do so.

Mr Cooper said: “The family of Private Gray are very upset at the content and tone of the reply from the MoD.”

He added: “Significantly, the ministry do not refute that they may have significant material hitherto not given to the family.”

The 2006 Blake review, which the Army’s letter said had the full support of the Ministry of Defence, found Geoff committed suicide, despite a coroner returning an open verdict in 2002.

 
 
 

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