Teen recruit Private Cheryl James ‘sexually exploited’ before her death

January 12, 2016 1:00 pm

 Private Cheryl James was found dead in her barracks in 1995.

An inquest has heard that a teenage army recruit found dead more than
20 years ago was being sexually exploited by senior ranks shortly
before she died.
New evidence has emerged which suggests a
teenage soldier found dead at a British army barracks more than 20 years
ago may have been ordered to have sex with another private shortly
before she died.
Private Cheryl James, 18, died at Deepcut
Barracks, Surrey, in 1995 and now her family’s lawyers say they want the
scope of a new inquest hearing to be widened to include new testimony
which “sheds new light” on her state of mind at the time of her death.
Alison
Foster QC, representing the teenager’s family, told a pre-inquest
hearing at Woking Coroner’s Court they have material suggesting Cheryl
“may have been sexually coerced or raped the night before, or before the
time of her death”.

She added: “There is now a direct allegation that Cheryl might
have been ordered to sleep with the person we are calling Witness A by
someone superior in rank to her.
“This is not fraternising. This
is not an illicit sexual relationship between two young people across
the ranks. This is something quite different.”
Mrs Foster said the evidence may have uncovered a “culture” of sexual abuse.
“This
new material gives a sinister and very different slant involving the
pressure of third parties on persons to have sexual intercourse or other
relations against their will,” she said.
“This gives a climate
or culture that can promote desperation and desperate emotions and
matters highly relevant to her state of mind, and the culture in which
such matters could continue.”
Mrs Foster also told the coroner
that she would present evidence of “manipulation within the chain of
command” at the new inquest.
She also referred to a system of “pimping” or prostitution.
Pte
James, 18, from Llangollen in North Wales, was found with a bullet
wound to her head in November 1995 when she was undergoing initial
training at the Surrey barracks.
She had been posted, alone and armed with an SA80 rifle, to guard a gate known as A2 at Royal Way on November 27, 1995.
She
was found at about 8.30am close to the gate in a small wooded area
surrounded by trees, with a bullet wound to the front of her head and no
other signs of injury.
She was one of four soldiers who died at the barracks between 1995 and 2002 amid claims of bullying and abuse.
After
the open verdict at the initial inquest – hurriedly held only three
weeks after Pte James’s death and lasting just one hour – the Ministry
of Defence and police were accused of a cover-up.
A second inquest was ordered into Pte James’s death after High Court judges quashed an open verdict recorded in December 1995.
Coroner Brian Barker QC said he would make a written ruling on whether to include the new material.
Pte
James’s parents, Des and Doreen James, have refused to accept the
theory that their daughter committed suicide using her own rifle and
have battled for 20 years for the truth surrounding her death.
At
a previous pre-inquest hearing in December Mr Barker heard that the MoD
would miss its deadline to disclose all relevant documents to the
coroner before Christmas.
Mrs Foster blasted the MoD for the
“disappointing” delays, saying the family had received precious little
in terms of disclosure over the past year.
“It is 20 years ago,
really almost to the day, that Cheryl died and to the first inquest,”
she said. “The family had almost no access to information to speak of
and it is with regret that we feel that that might be felt at the moment
about where we are here.
“We come before you as really very disappointed people.”

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