The Divisional Court (Mitting J and HHJ Thornton QC (Chief Coroner) sitting as a Judge of the High Court) today ordered a fresh inquest into the death of Cheryl James, a young army recruit found dead at Deepcut barracks in 1995 with a single gunshot wound to her head.
The original inquest returned an open verdict. Subsequent investigations and reviews did not resolve fundamental unanswered questions as to how she came by her death.
The Chief Coroner noted that documents initially withheld by Surrey Police and recently disclosed under threat of litigation, include important material relating to: ballistics, the noise of the gunshot, bullet fragments, the finding of the body, the credibility of some witnesses, and further evidence. He held that, by reason of the insufficiency of the original inquiry and the discovery of new facts and evidence, it was necessary and desirable in the interests of justice that a fresh investigation including a fresh inquest should be held.
The fresh inquest will be the first occasion on which key witnesses are questioned and crucial evidence is considered in public, with interested parties able to engage fully in the process.
Alison Foster QC and Peter Mant are acting for the parents of Ms James, and also for the families of two further young recruits who died at Deepcut between 1995 and 2002. They are instructed by Liberty.
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