The father of a young North-East soldier shot dead at his barracks has predicted that Ministry of Defence ministers and officials will be embarrassed at an official inquiry by MPs into the death.

Private Geoff Gray, who was 17, from Seaham, County Durham, was one of four recruits who have died in mysterious circumstances at the same Army camp in the past seven years.

The Army has suggested that all the deaths at the Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut, Surrey, were suicides.

However, police recently decided to reopen two of the cases, including Pte Gray's, at whose inquest the coroner recorded an open verdict.

Pte Gray was found dead last September with two bullet wounds in his head.

The Commons defence select committee has taken the unusual step of launching an inquiry into events at the base.

Pte Gray's father, also called Geoff, said: "This is brilliant news - this gives us more impetus to get a public inquiry into Geoff's death."

Senior ministers and high-profile Ministry of Defence officials will be called to give evidence to the committee inquiry.

The MPs' probe will not be launched until after Surrey police complete an investigation into Pte Gray's death, however.

Durham North MP Kevan Jones, a member of the committee said: "These four deaths at Deepcut have raised serious concern among defence committee members.

"We hope that our inquiry can give some comfort to the families."

The other deaths at the base, also attributed initially to suicide, were those of Pte James Collinson, 17, from Perth, Scotland, who was found dead with a single gunshot wound while on guard duty at the barracks in March this year; Pte Sean Benton, 20, from Hastings, who died from gunshot wounds to his chest in June 1995; and 18-year-old Pte Cheryl James, from Llangollen, Wales, who was found dead in November 1995 with a single bullet wound to her head.