Fifth soldier died at army's Deepcut barracks

Fifth soldier died at army’s Deepcut barracks where four recruits were found dead between 1995 and 2002 as detective says it is ‘staggering’ he was not told of the death

  • A fifth solider died at the army’s Deepcut barracks between 1995 and 2002 
  • Previously, four privates died at Deepcut and were found with gunshot wounds 
  •  Private Anthony Bartlett was found dead there in 2001, of suspected overdose

A fifth soldier died at the army’s Deepcut barracks where four recruits were found dead between 1995 and 2002, it has emerged.

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.

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

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 (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 (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.  

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 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. 

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

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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