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  1. Divya Kohli

Second inquest begins more than two decades after death of Deepcut army recruit Private Cheryl James

Second inquest into Private James' death begins

A fresh inquest into the death of a young soldier at the Deepcut army barracks in Surrey has begun today - more than 20 years after her death.

Private Cheryl James, who was 18, was discovered with a gunshot wound. She was was one of four teenage recruits to die at the barracks over a seven year period. She was found dead in November 1995. Privates Sean Benton, James Collinson and Geoff Gray also died from gunshot wounds - between 1995 and 2002.

Their families have long campaigned for a full inquiry after inquests which recorded 'open' verdicts - or verdicts of suicide. It follows claims of bullying - and a climate of fear - at the base.

In 2014, the High Court ordered a fresh inquest into Private James' death. Last month, at a preliminary hearing, new evidence emerged to suggest that Private James may have been sexually exploited by senior ranks.

Divya Kohli's report includes an interview with Des James, the father of Private Cheryl James.

  1. National

'Full, frank and fearless' Deepcut investigation promised

By ITV News correspondent Juliet Bremner

Private Cheryl James was one of four teenage recruits to die at Deepcut over a seven-year period. Credit: Family handout

The second inquest into the death of teenage recruit Cheryl James opened today with a promise that it would be a "full, frank and fearless" investigation.

The 18-year-old's parents won a legal battle to hold a new inquest and present additional evidence into the possible reasons why she died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in November 1995.

But at the opening of the inquest, Judge Brian Barker sitting as coroner, said that he could not allow a wider inquiry in the culture at the base. He pointed out that it was his role to consider "how, not why " Pte James had died.

He promised there would be "a full, frank and fearless inquiry into the death of Cheryl James" but this would not look at allegations of sexual abuse and bullying that may have occurred before the night of her death.

The family had argued at pre-trial hearings that this could have contributed to Cheryl's state of mind and had hoped to introduce witnesses to testify about earlier experiences of abuse at Deepcut.

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Inquest to begin into death of Cheryl James

Cheryl James died at Deepcut Barracks in 1995 Credit: ITV Meridian

A month-long inquest into the death of a female soldier who was shot at Deepcut Baracks in Surrey will begin today.

Cheryl James died of a gunshot wound in 1995.

18-year-old Cheryl was one of four soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

In 2014, the High Court quashed the inital verdict and applied for a fresh inquest.

Plans for 1,200 homes on Deepcut site approved

Deepcut barracks in Surrey Credit: ITV News Meridian

Plans to build 1,200 new homes on the site of the Deepcut military barracks in Surrey have been approved by Surrey Health Borough Council.

The site will be vacated by the Ministry of Defence in 2016. It follows a review of military training after the deaths of four soldiers on the base between 1995 and 2002.

22 councillors voted in favour of the plans, 10 against and 1 abstained after a long debate which went on late into the night.

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