Family welcome new inquest into soldier's death


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A NEW inquest has finally been ordered in to the death of a young Army woman from Llangollen.
Investigations will continue in to the death of Private Cheryl James after the High Court ordered a fresh inquest on Friday.
Cheryl was found dead at Deepcut Barracks, near Camberley, Surrey, in November 1995 with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose.
An open verdict was recorded at the first inquest in to the death of the 18-year-old servicewoman recorded an open verdict
The human rights organisation Liberty, which represents Cheryl’s parents, Des and Doreen James, applied for a new inquest after gaining access to documents held by authorities about her death. A date has yet to be set for the fresh proceedings.
In a joint statement issued after the call from the High Court, Mr and Mrs James said: “Of course we’re delighted but this is no time for celebration – a meaningful inquiry into Cheryl’s death is almost 20 years late.
"When young people die in violent circumstances, a rigorous and transparent investigation should be automatic.
“Something went dreadfully wrong at Deepcut yet, until now, no one has bothered to look at how and why our daughter died.
“We can only hope Cheryl’s legacy helps change the current ineffective and discredited military justice system.”
Liberty solicitor Emma Norton added: “Cheryl’s family refused to let her death be swept under the carpet but they’ve had to fight at every stage for answers in the face of a state that thought it could ignore the basic human rights of its troops.
“Cheryl was preparing for a life of service and deserved so much better – her family can now hope to finally get some answers.”
Cheryl was the second recruit to die at Deepcut, after Sean Benton in June 1995.
Their deaths were followed by those of Geoff Gray and James Collinson in 2001 and 2002, with all deaths involving gunshot wounds.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Private Cheryl James.
“The inquest will now be a matter for the coroner, but we will, of course, continue to co-operate with and provide support to the coroner where needed.”

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