Cheryl James: Deepcut soldier’s death was suicide, coroner rules

1 year ago
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The death of an army recruit from a gunshot wound to the head at Deepcut barracks was suicide, a coroner has ruled.

Pte Cheryl James, 18, was found dead with a bullet wound to the head in 1995. She was one of four recruits to die at the base in seven years.

Coroner Brian Barker QC said the wound was “self-inflicted” and Pte James fired the gun intentionally.

Her father said the family did not believe evidence led to verdict.

Des James said they were “deeply saddened” by the conclusions of the inquest.

“The evidence has revealed serious and profound failures in the care and supervision that ought to have been provided to her, and to all of the other young people who joined the British army with her,” he said.

“Deepcut was a toxic and horrible environment for a young woman and we have no doubt that this would have had a terrible impact on those that were required to live there.”

Brig John Donnelly said the army was “truly sorry” for the low levels of supervision that provided for the trainees at Deepcut in 1995, and for using trainees for guard duties.

“The army has made many profound changes since 1995, which the coroner has acknowledged, but we do recognise that change is a continuous process,” he said.

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