New revelations of Deepcut's 'climate of fear'

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The Independent Online

A "psychopathic" sergeant at the notorious Deepcut Army barracks threw one trainee soldier from a second-storey window and defecated on others after stripping them naked, according to a new account of abuses at the base.

A "psychopathic" sergeant at the notorious Deepcut Army barracks threw one trainee soldier from a second-storey window and defecated on others after stripping them naked, according to a new account of abuses at the base.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday, a former soldier who trained with one of the victims said life at the Surrey camp was dominated by a "climate of fear".

The former corporal was speaking on condition of anonymity. He claims he has been threatened with retribution should he ever speak out. His account comes amid fresh allegations of rape and beatings at the barracks, which the victims' parents say has created an "unstoppable" momentum for a full public inquiry. The parents of the victims, Geoff Gray, Cheryl James, James Collinson and Sean Benton, have promised to launch a legal challenge if the Government ignores their demands for a public inquiry.

The former corporal, 31, who has since left the Army, said the regime at Deepcut was dominated by "four or five" non-commissioned officers who had been rejected from other regiments.

He told how he and a group of recruits were tumbled out of bed at 3am one day in 1995, thrown down the stairs and forced to parade naked.

"The sergeant, who was drunk, threw darts at us and said 'you can go back to bed when three darts stick in your stomach'."

The soldier also corroborated the story of a recruit, which was published in The Sun yesterday, in which Scott Knowles claimed that Cheryl James was forced into sex by one of the NCOs. He said: "It was attempted rape but she managed to get away. [Cheryl] was humiliated in public, paraded in front of the squadron, thrown to the ground. They would make sexual innuendos and degrade her."

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