9th June 1995. Deepcut Barracks, Surrey.
Private Sean Benton was found dead at the Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, with five bullet wounds to his chest. Despite ballistics tests suggesting that only one bullet was fired from close range and the others from a distance, the Army said he had committed suicide. On 27 November 1995, Private Cheryl James, 18, was found dead with a single bullet wound to her head in woods not far from her abandoned guard post. An Army inquiry concluded she had committed suicide and Surrey Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the death but the coroner recorded an open verdict. On the 17th September 2001 Private Geoff Gray, 17,was found dead with two gunshot wounds to his head while on guard duty. Five shots had been fired and the other three bullets were not found. A coroner recorded an open verdict after hearing from witnesses that during a search after the shots were fired a figure was seen running away. On 23 March 2002, Private James Collinson, 17, was found dead with a single gunshot wound while on guard duty at the barracks. The Army said he killed himself and no inquest was held.
A report by Nicholas Blake QC in 2006 found that bullying and “foul abuse” were a routine part of life at the army’s training barracks at Deepcut, although no evidence of deaths being anything other than self-inflicted was found.
The parents continue to press for a public enquiry into the events at Deepcut, but without any success.
The cases remain unresolved.
8th October 2007. Western Road, Aldershot.
David Kirsch had an argument with Julie Butler, his fiancée and landlady of the Imperial Standard Pub. She accused him of flirting with a customer. Prior to the argument he had drunk six Jack Daniels and four pints of lager. CCTV footage showed Kirsch putting his hands around her throat, which caused her to pass out. He then hit her with a bar stool and left her to die over a period of 21 minutes. The next morning he pulled her body into the toilets of the pub where he dressed her in fresh clothes, kissed her and covered her face with beer towels.
Kirsch continued to live in the Imperial Standard for nearly three days afterwards leaving only to drink at other pubs and to place bets. Her body was found by the brewery’s area manager and a colleague on the 10th October. They entered the premises through an open window believing that Butler and Kirsch had closed the pub and run away with the takings. After police sealed off the scene, Kirsch arrived holding a craft knife to his own throat and had to be tackled by officers.
David Kirsch was jailed for 19 years for murder, but was found not guilty of two counts of sexual acts with a corpse.
21st March 2002. Yateley Heath Woods, Yateley.
13 year old Amanda Jane Dowler, who was known as Milly to her friends and family, left her School to go home on the train. She got off at Walton-On-Thames to visit friends in a café. She then left on foot to go home and was last seen by a friend of her sisters. CCTV images indicated that she had been abducted minutes after passing a bus stop and a nationwide search followed. Despite numerous appeals she remained missing. Her naked body was discovered by mushroom pickers in Yateley Heath Woods on 18th September 2002. Due to the body’s advance decomposition no cause of death could be ascertained. In 2005 Police released details about a red Daewoo Nexia, which was seen on CCTV less than 100 yards away from where Milly disappeared. The detectives working on the case linked the car to an ex girlfriend of Levi Bellfield’s, a bouncer, and wheel clamper. They never found the vehicle believing that it was most likely crushed at a scrapyard.
Bellfield had already been convicted in February 2008, for the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amelie Delagrange as well as the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy and given a whole life sentence. In February 2009, Surrey Police submitted a dossier of evidence against Bellfield to the Crown Prosecution Service and on 23rdJune 2011, he was given a further whole life sentence for the murder of Milly Dowler.
21st June 1931.
Blackdown Barracks, Deepcut.
Lieutenant Hubert Chavis and his wife Frances sat down to an early dinner. Their batman Gunner Nicholas Bulger served Chavis’ favourite dish of Manchurian Partridge. After eating a mouthful of the bird Chavis summoned Bulger saying “Take his bird away. It is the most terrible thing I have ever tasted.” Not long after, Chavis started to experience severe cramps and convulsions and a doctor was called. He succumbed to the poisoning at 1.00 am the following morning, a post mortem found two grains of strychnine in his stomach.
On the day of his funeral, his father, Sir William Chavis received a telegram from J. Hartigan, all the telegram said was “Hooray, hooray, hooray!” On the back of the telegram was “Hibernian”, a hotel in Dublin. Police investigating the death visited the hotel and discovered that a man fitting the description of the sender had also purchased strychnine from a local chemist, but the man was never found.
Many theories were suggested as to why he was murdered, but the investigation stalled because of a lack of evidence. The case remains unsolved.