Wales

Cheryl James Deepcut death: New sexual exploitation claims

Pte Cheryl James

At least 10 witnesses have alleged sexual exploitation at an army barracks where a teenage recruit was found dead 20 years ago, it has been claimed.

Pte Cheryl James, 18, from Denbighshire, was found with a bullet wound to her head at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in 1995.

Her father told the Telegraph witnesses "in double figures" claim they were exploited or recruits were ordered to have sex with other soldiers.

A fresh inquest begins on Monday.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Pte Cheryl James.

"The inquest will now be a matter for the coroner, but we will of course continue to cooperate with and provide support to the coroner where needed."

Lawyers from human rights campaign group Liberty have asked the coroner, Brian Barker QC, to allow the new witnesses to give evidence and he is expected to make a decision on Monday.

Des James's solicitor Emma Norton said: "We have made an application to the coroner to investigate evidence that has come to light that appears to suggest there might have been a system of ordering recruits to have sex with other staff.

"We have had a witness come forward to say Cheryl herself disclosed to him that she had been ordered to have sex with another soldier.

"With that evidence in mind, we wanted to say to the coroner 'look, anyone else who is suggesting a similar pattern of behaviour, you ought to hear from.'"

Image copyright PA

Pte James, from Llangollen, was one of four soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.

The new inquest was granted by the High Court in 2014 after the open verdict recorded at the original inquest in December 1995 was quashed.

Mr James, from Llanymynechm, Powys, has said he hopes the fresh hearing will uncover the truth about what happened to her.

"I don't have a result in mind. I just want the truth," he told BBC Radio Wales' Eye on Wales Programme.

"As long as the process is impeccable, as long as I can look back and say everything we could do, we've done, that's the important thing."

More than 100 people are due to give evidence when the inquest begins in Woking, Surrey.

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