Home news Pte Sean Benton inquest will not assess Deepcut sex claims, coroner says

Pte Sean Benton inquest will not assess Deepcut sex claims, coroner says


Sexual misconduct claims at Deepcut Barracks will not be considered at a new inquest into a soldier’s death, a coroner has ruled.Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, East Sussex, was found dead at the base with five gunshot wounds in 1995.His family’s legal team had asked that “cogent” claims of sexual misconduct against female trainees be considered. There is no evidence of such misconduct against Pte Benton and the hearings will only focus on how he died.The sexual misconduct allegations were made against non-commissioned officers (NCOs) at the barracks. Live: More news from across the South EastPte Benton was the first of four young soldiers to die at the barracks, between 1995 and 2002.His death was originally recorded as suicide, but a second inquest was ordered after a campaign by the family for a full investigation amid allegations he suffered prolonged physical and psychological bullying.Who were the Deepcut four? At a pre-inquest hearing at Woking Coroner’s Court, Judge Peter Rook QC said: “None of the sexual misconduct allegations individually or collectively is of sufficient probative force in respect of the issues that need to be resolved within the scope of this inquest.”My statutory task is to determine how and in what circumstances Sean Benton came by his death, not to review more generally the wider behaviour of NCOs at Deepcut.”A previous ruling determined the inquest can hear evidence alleging one of the young private’s former instructors bullied other recruits.The family of Pte Benton allege that Sgt Andrew Gavaghan, now retired, was among those who bullied and harassed him before his death.Sgt Gavaghan denies the allegations.The full inquest, expected to be held in January without a jury, is set to hear from about 150 witnesses.
Source: BBC