The second inquest into the death of Sean Benton concluded on 18 July 2018. The inquest started in January 2018 and heard evidence from 170 witnesses over 40 days, with Coroner HHJ Peter Rook QC returning a conclusion of suicide.
The Article 2 inquiry conducted 23 years after Sean's death has considered the wider environment and culture at Deepcut Barracks and heard evidence of systematic bullying of recruits. It also explored evidence relating to Sean's mental health and the welfare provision at the barracks in 1994 and 1995.
Clyde & Co's Judith Duffin, together with counsel Paul Spencer of Serjeants Inn, represented the Head of Healthcare and GP civilian medical officer at Deepcut barracks at the time of Sean's death in June 1995. Judith and Paul were was instructed by Dr Jonathan Bernstein of Medical Protection.
Judge Rook was critical of the welfare systems in place at the time and the failure to provide appropriate welfare supervision and support to Sean in 1995. Judge Rook concluded that whilst there were failures and other shortcomings in policies and systems at the time, those were not causative of Sean's death.
Judge Rook found that there were no deficiencies in the medical care provided to Sean during his time at Deepcut and concluded that the actions of Clyde & Co’s GP client met the standards to be expected at that time.
To read our previous articles on inquests, click here