Fifth soldier died at army’s Deepcut barracks where four recruits died between 1995 and 2002


The grieving father of a soldier who died at Deepcut Army barracks demanded a public inquiry last night after details of a fifth suspicious death at the base emerged.

It had been thought that four young soldiers died there mysteriously between 1995 and 2002.

The cases triggered police investigations and an independent review by a High Court Judge.

But it has now been revealed that a fifth soldier, Private Anthony Bartlett died of a suspected drug overdose at the Surrey barracks in July 2001. 

Remarkably, the 26-year-old’s death was not included in any of the inquiries into the suspicious deaths and probes into claims that Army instructors abused and bullied recruits.

Just two months after the tragedy, Private Geoff Gray, 17, died of gunshot wounds while on guard duty. 

To this day his family dispute the coroner’s conclusion that their son took his own life. 

Anthony Bartlett, was found dead after a suspected overdose in July 2001 at the Deepcut barracks

Anthony Bartlett, was found dead after a suspected overdose in July 2001 at the Deepcut barracks

Last night, Private Gray’s father, also called Geoff Gray, said: ‘There must now be a public inquiry… I am more convinced than ever that there was foul play in my son’s death. 

‘Why are we just learning now that Private Bartlett died in suspicious circumstances so close to when Geoff died?’ 

Privates Sean Benton, Cheryl James, Geoff Gray and James Collinson were found dead at the barracks in Surrey amid allegations of a culture of bullying and abuse. 

However, it has now emerged that another private, Anthony Bartlett, was found dead after a suspected overdose in July 2001.

The detective who investigated later deaths at the Barracks hit out at the news and said it was ‘staggering’ he had not been told about it.  

Retired Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton said the death of Private Bartlett had been hidden from him.

The MoD rejected any claims of a cover-up and said the coroner found the fifth death had been an accident.   

Privates Benton, James, Gray and Collinson all died of gunshot wounds in the barracks. 

The Army said the deaths were suicides though their families disagreed.   

DCI Colin Sutton investigated the deaths of Pte Grey and Pte Collinson 

Pte Bartlett died just two months before but Mr Sutton says he was not informed of the death. 

He died after an overdose of Co-Proxamol, which is a strong painkiller.

Pte Bartlett had been prescribed the painkiller by Army doctors for acute Achilles tendonitis.  

James Collinson who died from gunshot wounds at the Deepcut Army Barracks

Private Geoff Gray aged 17, who was found with two gunshot wounds in his forehead

James Collinson (left) who died from gunshot wounds at the Deepcut Army Barracks.  Private Geoff Gray (right) aged 17, who was found with two gunshot wounds in his forehead

Private Cheryl James

Private Sean Benton, who was the first of four young soldiers to die of gunshot wounds at the Deepcut Barracks in Surre

Private Cheryl James (left) was also found dead of gunshot wounds. Private Sean Benton, who was the first of four young soldiers to die of gunshot wounds at the Deepcut Barracks in Surrey

Ex-DCI Sutton said:  ‘Nobody told me about it,’ he said. ‘If you’re the senior investigating officer looking at the deaths of two soldiers at Deepcut and there’s another death of a soldier that you’re not told about, you know, it’s just staggering to me.

‘I just don’t understand how that information can be kept from an investigation team that’s looking at this at that barracks.’ 

Sean Benton was the first private found dead at the barracks, after he was found in July 1995 with five gunshot wounds.  

Private Bartlett, from Dumfries and Galloway, was found to have overdosed on a painkiller he had been prescribed for an ankle injury. An inquest in 2001 ended in a verdict of accidental death from acute poisoning from the drug.

Cheryl James was found dead in November that year. Pte James, 18, was undergoing initial training when she was found dead with a bullet wound between her right eye and the bridge of her nose in November 1995. 

Private Benton and Private James’s deaths were declared suicides after second inquests. An open verdict was reached at Private Collinson’s only inquest. 

Private Geoff Gray aged 17, was found with two gunshot wounds in his forehead in September 2001.  

James Collinson was 17 when he was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head at the barracks. 

The Ministry of Defence denies that it sought to hide a fifth death at Deepcut.

It also insists the Armed Forces do not tolerate abuse, bullying or discrimination.

Deepcut: A timeline of key events

April 1993: The Royal Barracks, Deepcut, an Army base since around 1900, becomes the home of the newly formed Royal Logistic Corps.

June 1995: Sean Benton is found dead with five gunshot wounds. The following month an inquest records a verdict of suicide.

November 1995: Cheryl James is found dead

December 1995: The inquest into Pte James’s death records an open verdict

September 2001: Geoff Gray is found dead

March 2002: An inquest into Pte Gray’s death records an open verdict

March 2002: James Collinson is found dead

Deepcut army barracks in Surrey which has been at the centre of allegations of bullying and abuse

Deepcut army barracks in Surrey which has been at the centre of allegations of bullying and abuse

April 2002: Surrey Police launch a joint investigation into the deaths of Pte Gray and Pte Collinson. The force later confirms it is also reviewing the deaths of Pte James and Pte Benton

June 2002: Families of the four soldiers call for a public inquiry 

September 2003: Surrey Police concludes there are no grounds for prosecutions over the deaths of the four young soldiers

May 2004: The government rejects calls for a public inquiry into the soldiers’ deaths

October 2004 New allegations emerge of gang rape, systematic bullying and sexual harassment at Deepcut emerge in a police report. The government announces a review of the allegation led by Nicholas Blake QC, but doesn’t order a full public inquiry.

March 2006: The inquest jury looking into the death of Pte Collinson returns an open verdict

March 2006: The Blake Review criticises Army training, citing ‘harassment, discrimination and oppressive behaviour’, but concludes that the deaths were probably self-inflicted.

May 2009: The government again rejects calls for a public inquiry

March 2011: A review by Devon and Cornwall Police found Surrey Police failed to investigate fully a potential suspect, known as the ‘unknown white male’, in the death of Pte James  

July 2014: High Court judges order a fresh inquest into the death of Pte James 

June 2016: The second inquest into Pte James’s death found the gunshot wound to her head was self-inflicted and intentional, and her death was suicide

October 2016: A High Court judge rules a fresh inquest can take place into the death of Pte Benton

November 2017: The family of Pte Gray win High Court action for a fresh inquest

January 2018: A fresh inquest begins at Woking Coroner’s Court into the death of Pte Benton



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