MoD official joins inquiry on Deepcut deaths

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A Ministry of Defence official has been appointed to the independent review team looking into the deaths of young recruits at Deepcut Barracks, but the move has been defended by the man leading the inquiry.

A Ministry of Defence official has been appointed to the independent review team looking into the deaths of young recruits at Deepcut Barracks, but the move has been defended by the man leading the inquiry.

The review, ordered by the Government as a substitute for a public inquiry, will question senior figures in the MoD as it tries to discover what led to the soldiers' deaths.

It has also emerged that the team has taken almost four months to talk to three of the four bereaved families. Nicholas Blake QC, leading the inquiry, said the delay was because he was waiting for the MoD to supply their addresses - addresses which are widely known to the media and MPs, and are available on websites.

However, he insisted that it was he who had asked for the MoD official to join his team because of the need to have someone with knowledge of the inner workings of the military.

Mr Blake, a well-known human rights lawyer, said that the "broad" scope of his review may yield better insight into what happened at the barracks, in Surrey.

The QC acknowledged that he had no powers to subpoena witnesses. However, he added that they will be able to come forward "in confidence" to provide information which they may have felt unable to disclose to a Surrey Police investigation into Deepcut.

Mr Blake said he is determined to pursue just how far up the chain of command knowledge of what went on in Deepcut went. "I take the view that the scope of my terms of reference are broad," he said.