Deepcut soldier Private Sean Benton

An inquest into the death of a soldier more than 22 years ago at Deepcut Barracks, Surrey, has been told the recruit lacked self-discipline and needed constant watching.

Private Sean Benton, 20, was found with five bullets in his chest in June 1995, shortly after being told he was to be discharged from the Army.

The inquest heard from Colonel James Priest, who in 1994 was a lieutenant and Troop Commander during Private Benton's phase one training at Pirbright Barracks, Surrey.

Colonel Priest was asked about his recollection of Private Sean Benton and admitted he was largely relying on a statement that was given to Surrey Police in 2002.

He said he remembered after one exercise in particular, Private Benton had a "tantrum", stamped his feet and stormed off.

Colonel Priest was also asked to go through his troop commander report and said that two weeks into training in July 1994 Private Benton could not concentrate, found learning difficult and had no motivation.

A month later in the report, he said Private Benton's personal administration and self-discipline was "non-existent".

Then, by September 6, towards the end of the 10-week course, Colonel Priest wrote that a "bolt of inspiration must have struck Benton" but he went on to describe him as a "liability" and someone who needed to be watched.

Private Sean Benton's troop sergeant at the time, Peter Wilkinson, then took the stand and was responsible for administration and discipline.

He remembered the Private as "an irritable individual, easily agitated and not accepting of orders", who needed more time to adapt to military life.

The inquest continues on Tuesday.

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