Deepcut: new evidence may show soldier did not shoot herself


New scientific evidence has shown a teenage soldier found dead at an army barracks more than 20 years may not have killed herself, an inquest has heard.

A fresh inquest is due to take place into the death of Private Cheryl James, 18, who was discovered with a fatal bullet wound at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in November 1995 - one of four recruits to die there over a seven-year period.

At a hearing at Woking Coroner's Court in Surrey, lawyers for Pte James's family called for the inquest to be delayed by a few weeks to allow "important" pathological evidence to be properly considered.

Alison Foster QC, representing the family, said: "Now there is distinguished pathological evidence showing that the shot that killed Cheryl James may not have been self-inflicted.

"Third party involvement is more than merely speculative, according to this inquest's pathologist.

"It's important such evidence is fully acquired and assimilated."

A second inquest is examining new evidence suggesting Pte James, from Llangollen in North Wales, may have been sexually exploited by senior ranks shortly before her death.

High Court judges ordered the fresh inquest in 2014 after they quashed an open verdict recorded in December 1995.

Coroner Brian Barker QC has said he will not consider claims of a "wider culture of sexual abuse" at Deepcut because he is not conducting a public inquiry.

Privates Sean Benton, 20, James Collinson, 17, and Geoff Gray, 17, also died from gunshot wounds at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

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