COUNTY NEWS: Coroner orders full investigation into soldier's death

A coroner has ordered a full investigation into the death of a Sussex soldier who died at an army barracks more than two decades ago.

sean Benton Deepcut Barrack private MAYOAK0003423322
sean Benton Deepcut Barrack private MAYOAK0003423322

Private Sean Benton, 20, was found at Deepcut barracks with five bullet wounds to his chest on June 9 1995 – one day after he had been told he was to be discharged from the Army.

Sean, from Hastings, was the first of four young soldiers to die of gunshot wounds at the Surrey barracks between 1995 and 2002.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Last Friday (June 9), coroner Peter Rook QC ruled the fresh inquest into Sean’s death will examine the wider circumstances around his death, as well as how he died.

Tracy Lewis, Sean’s older sister, said: “We’re so pleased that the coroner has ruled Article 2 of the Human Rights Act applies in this case, so there is going to be a full investigation into Sean’s death – which will include the wider environment at Deepcut camp.

“After 20 years of being kept in the dark, it’s really important to us that every detail of Sean’s final days is considered. We’re hopeful that this inquest will answer the questions we’ve been asking for decades.”

Emma Norton, lawyer for Liberty and solicitor for Sean’s family, said: “We’re grateful that the coroner has decided all of the circumstances surrounding Sean’s death should be looked at – including the awful culture at Deepcut barracks.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the Human Rights Act – and it’s the least this family deserves.”

Last year a fresh inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James exposed the toxic, unsafe and sexualised environment in which Deepcut recruits lived.