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Deepcut inquest to go ahead despite family call for delay

Private Cheryl James, 18, was found dead at Deepcut barracks in 1995. Credit: Family handout

A coroner has ruled that a fresh inquest into the death of a teenage soldier Deepcut army barracks should go ahead as planned, despite her family's call for it to be delayed to allow new scientific evidence to be properly considered.

A lawyer for Private Cheryl James' family, who was discovered with a fatal gunshot wound in 1995, had said the "important" pathological evidence shows it may not have been self-inflicted.

However, Brian Barker QC said there was no "practical unfairness" in scientific experts being heard later in the proceedings.

The inquest will examine new evidence suggesting Pte James, may have been sexually exploited by senior ranks shortly before her death.

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

Inquest into Deepcut soldier death set to continue

Private Cheryl James Credit: ITV News

An inquest is due to continue into the death of a soldier from Shropshire who died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey more than twenty years ago.

A long-awaited fresh inquest began last week into the death of Private Cheryl James, who was found with a fatal bullet wound in November 1995 at the age of 18.

But after two hours of legal argument, a coroner adjourned the inquest to allow new forensic and scientific evidence to be reviewed.

Her family wanted the inquest to be widened to take account of new testimony which they believe could shed new light on her state of mind.

It will also consider whether a third party was involved in her death and what happened on the evening before she died.

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Deepcut inquest will not consider 'sex abuse culture' claims

A second inquest into the death of a young soldier at a Deepcut army barracks in 1995 will not consider whether it had "a culture of sexual abuse", a coroner has said.

The Deepcut Barracks in Surrey. Credit: PA

Brian Barker QC said that evidence Pte James may have been sexually abused at the time of her death fell within the scope of the inquest.

But he added that it was not within the inquest's scope to consider "whether there was a culture of sexual abuse at Deepcut Barracks, including the sexually inappropriate treatment of female recruits within the chain of command".

Des James, father of Private Cheryl James, arrives at Woking Coroner's Court Credit: PA

"This is not a public inquiry into the culture at Deepcut in mid-1990s," Mr Barker told the inquest.

"Any allegation of previous sexual harassment or abuse will fall out of scope of the inquest and cannot be pursued by questioning", he said.

The ruling would remain under review "as the evidence develops" during the seven-week inquest, he added.

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