Recruit found hanged at Army barracks

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The Independent Online

An army recruit has been found hanged at a military training camp in Surrey days after reporting for duty.

The 29-year-old man was discovered at Alexander Barracks at the Pirbright army camp, which is a mile away from the Deepcut Barracks where four young recruits died of bullet wounds in separate incidents between 1995 and 2002.

The man was found shortly before 8am yesterday and died despite the repeated efforts of paramedics, who tried to resuscitate him.

A post-mortem examination took place yesterday. "The Ministry of Defence is fully co-operating with the inquiries being made by police," a Surrey police spokeswoman said.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "It is with deep sadness that the MoD confirms the death of a new recruit at Pirbright Training Centre in Surrey.

"Next of kin have been informed and our thoughts and sympathies are with the deceased individual's family and friends at this diffi-cult time.

"Surrey Police are conducting an investigation so it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

The deaths at Deepcut of Sean Benton, 20, of Hastings, James Collinson, 17, of Perth, Geoff Gray, 17, of Seaham, and Cheryl James, 18, of Llangollen, resulted in two police investigations, a police review, a defence select committee investigation and a governmental review.

The recruits' parents, who say they are still struggling to get answers to the questions which would help them challenge the MoD's assertion that all four committed suicide, last week launched a campaign for a public inquiry into the shootings.

The indepdendent review by Nicholas Blake QC found no evidence to substantiate the families' allegations that the recruits had been "bullied to death", but the MoD has instituted a zero-tolerance policy on bullying.

Pirbright's Alexander Barracks opened earlier this year as part of an Army drive to improve conditions for new recruits. The 12-man dormitories incorporate partitions to give a degree of privacy, and each floor has a "duty of care" office manned by a member of the training staff.

Last week the Army suspended five training instructors at Catterick garrison in Yorkshire following a BBC undercover investigation in which recruits complained of being punched, kicked and urinated upon.

The allegations were understood to be under investigation by the Royal Military Police and Army Prosecuting Authority.

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