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Police 'sorry' for Deepcut investigation mistakes

Surrey Police has apologised for the "mistakes" made during the initial investigation into the death of Private Cheryl James at Deepcut barracks.

Private James was found dead with a bullet wound to the head on November 27 1995, and a coroner on Friday ruled it was "self-inflicted".

During the inquest, Brian Barker QC delivered a scathing attack on the initial investigation into her death, which he described as poor, and said there was an early assumption of suicide.

In a statement read outside the Coroner's Court in Woking, Detective Superintendent Adam Hibbert said Surrey Police "have long accepted mistakes were made during this initial investigation, and has previously apologised to the family for those errors.

"Today, we would reiterate those apologies.

"The evidence has now been thoroughly examined throughout the new inquest, and our thoughts are with both Ms Jones' family and her friends. We hope they can take time to reflect upon the coroner's verdict.

"We are also acutely aware that today's findings will be relevant to the families of the other three young soldiers who died in Deepcut barracks between 1995 and 2002.

"I would like to take this opportunity reassure them that we will fully support any need for disclosure for any future potential coronial processes."

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MOD: Army now a beacon of equality and opportunity

The Ministry of Defence has said the Army is now "demonstrably inclusive" and a "beacon of equality", following the verdict into the death of Private Cheryl James.

In a statement read outside the Coroner's Court in Woking on Friday, Brigadier John Donneley said:

"We are truly sorry for the low levels of supervision we provided, and that we took too long to recognise and rectify the situation.

Brigadier Donneley paid tribute to the "dignity" Cheryl James' family and friends have shown, and acknowledged the "difficult time" they have been through.

"General Sir Nick Carter has publicity committed to improving the army's culture, to ensure that the army is demonstrably inclusive, that it respects difference and it is a beacon of equality of opportunity.

"An Army where a talented young woman, like Cheryl James, would've thrived and excelled."

Coroner Brian Barker QC concluded the death of Private Cheryl James was suicide, and caused by an intentional "self-inflicted" shot.

MP 'shocked' by the Army's 'neglected' duty of care

Private Cheryl James died at Deepcut barracks in 1995 Credit: ITV

An MP has said she is "shocked by the extent to which the Army neglected their duty of care at Deepcut Barracks", following the inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James.

In a statement, Madeleine Moon MP said there was "undisciplined atmosphere at Deepcut", and the deaths of the four recruits "reflected the culture in the Armed Services at the time."

However the verdict "represents hope for closure and relief for one of the families and the prospect of justice for the others".

She said "bullying and sexual harassment" still occurs in the Army, despite the creation of the Service Complaints Ombudsman, and called on the Secretary of State for Defence to be held to account.

"In the spirit of openness and accountability, Michael Fallon must come to the house on Monday to make a statement."

"This is an opportunity for the MOD to restore public confidence in their commitment to the welfare of personnel and to demonstrate their willingness to recognise and learn from past mistakes," she added.

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