Parents of dead recruit to be given Deepcut files

LOST RECRUIT: Private Geoff Gray.
LOST RECRUIT: Private Geoff Gray.
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THE parents of an Army recruit found shot dead at his barracks have been told they can finally have access to the police files on his death.

Geoff and Diane Gray have fought for a public inquiry since Private Geoff Gray died at the Deepcut Barracks in September, 2001, while on duty.

The 17-year-old, who was born in Seaham, was found with two gunshot wounds to his head.

The Army believes he took his own life, but his family sure his death was suspicious and an inquest recorded an open verdict.

Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James and James Collinson also died from gunshot wounds in unexplained circumstances at the barracks in Surrey between 1995 and 2002, with their loved ones disputing the Army’s stance they all committed suicide.

Their families’ calls for a public inquiry have been turned down, but the family of Private James has been given permission by the Attorney General to seek a new inquest.

Now, the Grays have been told they will be allowed access to the files on their boy’s death compiled by Surrey Police as it carried out an inquiry.

While they have applied via various methods before, the agreement to release the files was granted after John Cooper QC, who is representing them, asked for the documents.

Mr Gray, 50, believes the decision could be down to a change in senior officers in Surrey.

He said: “It’s a step forward towards closure and the first step along the next line. We’ve always pushed for a public inquiry, but really, this is the next best thing.

“It was quite a surprise when we were told we could have them.”

The family are still to find out when the files will be delivered and when it will hear back from the Army.

Mr Gray added: “In Cheryl James’s case, at the original inquest they go 20 to 30 pieces of paper and they’ve now just been given 40 volumes of information which hadn’t been put before a coroner.

“Once we go through ours, we can look to apply for an inquest to be considered.”