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Father of Private Cheryl James calls for 'thorough investigation' into her death

Private Cheryl James, 18, was discovered with a fatal bullet wound. Lawyers suggest possible "third party involvement" in her death.

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Fresh inquest into Welsh soldier's death due next year

A new inquest into the death of a teenage soldier from North Wales will be held early next year, a coroner ruled today.

Private Cheryl James, 18 and from Llangollen, died at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in November 1995.

She was found dead, with a single gunshot wound, in mysterious circumstances.

An open verdict recorded at an initial inquest, held just weeks after her death, has since been quashed.

Pte Cheryl James was undergoing initial training at Deepcut when she died, nearly 20 years ago. Credit: Family photograph

At a pre-inquest review in Woking today, coroner Brian Barker ruled that the inquest will take place in isolation, despite a request from Surrey Police for it to be held concurrently with those into the deaths of three other recruits at the barracks between 1995 and 2002.

Pte James' family supported that ruling, but say they are "dismayed" that no decision has yet been taken on whether to exhume her body.

They believe the colour of bullet fragments which may still exist in her head could be vital, and prove she did not commit suicide.

Alison Foster QC, representing her family, said: "From our standpoint, an exhumation would be necessary for you to carry out a full and proper inquiry."

The coroner said he would wait for a doctor's report before deciding whether the "difficult and unusual" step should be taken to exhume Pte James' body.

The new inquest is due to begin on 1 February next year, and examine the barracks' policies on sexual behaviour, supervision of young females, drugs, alcohol and accommodation.

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