Deepcut inquest: Soldier heard shouts of 'stop or I will shoot' during search for Private Geoff Gray, who was later found dead

Private Geoff Gray
Private Geoff Gray

A former private heard shouts of "stop or I will shoot" and a perimeter fence "rattling" during searches for a missing trainee who was later found dead on a military base, an inquest has heard.

Sergeant Fay Mulraine was on guard duty at Deepcut Barracks with Geoff Gray, from Seaham, on the night the 17-year-old suffered two gunshot wounds to his head in 2001.

Giving evidence at a fresh inquest into the death of Pte Gray, she described hearing gunshots shortly after the teenager had gone off on a "quick patrol" alone in the early hours of September 17.

Sgt Mulraine told Woking Coroner's Court on Tuesday she then radioed for help after Pte Gray did not return before searches commenced.

She told the inquest there were "several searches" of the base for the missing Pte Gray without anyone seeing anything.

Describing an incident during the searches, she said: "Guys come running and the fence was going and the guard commander was shouting 'don't shoot', 'don't shoot' and the guys they were running.

"I don't know if it's my mind playing or the state I was in but it was like the fence was rattling, it sounded like it was shaking ... you could hear it.

"One of them was shouting 'stop or I will shoot' and the guard commander was saying 'don't shoot'".

Jonathan Cooper QC, for the family of Pte Gray, questioning Sgt Mulraine about the fence, asked: "Whatever it was it was heavy enough for the soldiers there to be worried?"

She replied "yes".

The family of Pte Gray believe another recruit or recruits may have shot the teenager from Hackney, east London, while he was on guard duty at the Surrey base.

Describing the initial searches, Sgt Mulraine said: "They did a sweep in the direction which he went and during that sweep they still didn't find anything.

"They called the guard room to get more privates to come out and search.

"There were several searches ... they sweep the way they sweep before with more guards and still didn't find anything."

Pte Gray's father, also called Geoff, previously told the inquest he was approached at his son's funeral by soldiers who said "they had passed the spot where he was eventually found and he was not there".

Mr Gray also said other soldiers had warned him at the funeral "don't let this lie, it could be one of us next", in a previous statement to Surrey Police in 2002, the inquest previously heard.

In 2002, a coroner recorded an open verdict in the first inquest into the death of Pte Gray.

The new inquest is happening because Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC said he was satisfied fresh evidence had come to light.