The widow of a black soldier from Deepcut army barracks, who was shot in suspicious circumstances last year, now faces deportation to Jamaica.
Last Boxing Day, Mario O’Brien Clarke was shot dead in Hackney while he was off duty. The army maintains that his death is not connected to the other four suspicious deaths of young soldiers at Deepcut – which also involved shootings. The families of the other four soldiers, who have been campaigning for an independent inquiry to find out exactly how their loved ones died, were allegedly, according to an interview in the Voice newspaper (9 June) contacted just hours after Mario was shot, to be told that his death was not connected to Deepcut but drugs-related. Mario’s death is being treated as a civilian black-on-black shooting and is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Trident.
Mario’s widow, Deveen Clarke, a 24-year-old trainee nurse, is being supported by her MP Paul Keetch in her campaign against deportation. Just six months after her husband was killed, she received deportation papers. And even though Home Office minister Beverley Hughes reviewed the case, Deveen has now been told she will be deported in September because she does not have the requisite ‘marriage visa’.
Deveen is, reportedly, upset that the police had been in contact with the immigration service and that her deportation was originally ordered while the police were still investigating her husband’s death. The families of the other four Deepcut ‘victims’ believe that Deveen’s deportation may have been hastened because she joined them on a protest vigil outside Deepcut last month.
The four soldiers who died at Deepcut between 1995 and 2002 were all white and aged between 17 and 20. All their deaths, by gunshot wounds, were initially treated by the army as suicide. But the families were unhappy with this verdict. Only one inquest has so far concurred with the army view. Two inquests brought in ‘open verdict’ and the fourth is yet to take place.