Mother of Deepcut recruit found dead 'gutted' by inquest conclusion fellow soldier shot herself

The mum of a Seaham soldier who was found shot dead at his training camp has spoken of her shock after a coroner ruled a fellow recruit's fatal wounds were self inflicted.

Friday, 3rd June 2016, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd June 2016, 6:13 pm
Diane and Geoff Gray, parents of Pte Geoff Gray.

Diane Gray's eldest son Geoff was found dead with gun shot wounds to his head at the Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 2001.

The mother and Geoff's dad, also called Geoff, have never believed he took his own life, with an open verdict recorded into his death.

Pte Geoff Gray, pictured on holiday. He died aged 17 while a recruit training at the Army's Deepcut Barracks in Surrey.

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The family of Private Cheryl James, who was one of four found dead at the base in suspicious circumstances during a seven year period, launched a successful campaign for a new inquest into the 18-year-old's death.

Coroner Brian Barker QC said he found she died of an intentional "self-inflicted shot" while on guard duty at the Surrey barracks in November 1995.

The coroner said Pte James had a "preoccupation with death" and would sometimes talk to her friends about what guests she would want at her funeral.

He said she was "disillusioned" with the Army and had a troubled adolescence which included an overdose and she had light-heartedly talked to friends about how "easy" it would be to shoot oneself at the Army barracks.

The Deepcut Barracks, photographed in 2002.

Diane, 51, and Geoff, 52, who are also parents of Adam, 25, are in the process of putting together an application to have Pte Gray's original inquest verdict overturned and seek a new hearing.

Diane, who was at today's hearing, said: "I feel absolutely gutted, I'm in shock.

"The suicide verdict, he said himself you have to have definitive proof.

"She left no note, she left no indication of what she was going to do, so how can he record that verdict?

Pte Cheryl James.

"The reason he's said this is because I feel the police didn't investigate the first time around. If they had, we wouldn't be in this situation now.

"I'm very concerned about what this means for us because I don't want our inquest held in Surrey and I want a jury, because this is the views of one man, it's one man's opinion, where is as a jury would offer several people's opinions.

"But I'm not going to let this get me down.

"I'm just as determined."

Pte Geoff Gray, pictured on holiday. He died aged 17 while a recruit training at the Army's Deepcut Barracks in Surrey.
The Deepcut Barracks, photographed in 2002.
Pte Cheryl James.