THE Deepcut officer who saw a young recruit fatally shot five times in the chest, punched another solider in the face and took drunken pictures of a female squaddie before retiring from the army.

Martin ‘Noddy’ Holder was cleared of assault after a military court martial heard he burst in on the other soldiers with a camera after a boozy night out on an training course in Germany.

Sergeant Major Holder punched a married soldier three times after finding him alone with a female soldier and took 15 pictures to use as evidence, the court heard in 2014.

He was a corporal at Deepcut when 20-year-old Sean Benton was shot dead nine years earlier.

Pte Benton, 20, was the first of four young soldiers to die from gunshot wounds at the controversial British army camp near the Surrey village of Deepcut.

Following a 20-year-campaign by his family, a new inquest was ordered when the High Court quashed the original verdict of suicide.

The army and Surrey police have always maintained the young solider form Hastings took his own life.

The second inquest into his death heard that Corporal Holder was one of the first on the scene.

Mr Holder told the hearing at the Surrey Coroner’s Court Pte Benton shot himself after persuading another soldier to give him her gun.

The court martial heard Sergeant Major Holder had punched married Colour Sergeant James Kelt three times when he lunged at him in the earlier incident.

He took pictures of James Kelt and Lance Bombardier Sarah White under the covers of Colour Sergeant James Kelt's bunk following an alcohol-fuelled night out.

SM Holder was based at the army officer training academy at Sandhurst and all three were on a training exercise at Hohenfels, Germany in 2013. Col Sgt Kelt told the court Sgt Maj Holder was clearly in a rage when he punched him.

Sgt Major Holder retired from the army before the hearing was held in 2014 about his incident with another soldier.

He denied one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on the grounds of self defence and the judge ordered him to be acquitted after prosecutors dropped their case.

Mr Holder described the behaviour of his two colleagues as a breach of the values and standards of the army.

He struggled to hold back his emotions as he told the second inquest into Sean Benton’s death how he heard the fatal shots.

Mr Holder, 53, told Pte Benton: “You’ve done it now,” as life drained from the young soldier.

“I said Sean, you’ve done it now.

“With all the difficulties he’s had, he’s gone to the extreme.”

Mr Holder was responding to reports of gunfire when he found the 20-year-old trainee sitting with his back resting against a wire fence around a tennis court at the edge of the camp.

Sean Benton’s sister Tracy Lewis listened as Mr Holder described the events of June 9, 1995.

He was second in command of the camp guard and near the end of his shift when reports came into the guard room of gunfire after a female soldier had been persuaded to give Pte Benton her weapon.

Pte Benton had found out the day before he was to be discharged from the army.

Paul Greaney QC for the Benton family asked Mr Holder if he should have been more aware of the impact this would have had on the young soldier who had a history of self harming.

“No one has thought Sean was going to go and get a weapon and do what he did, it’s not in the normal chain of thought.

“You’re not going to assume if you leave him for five minutes, he’s going to dupe someone into giving him a weapon.

“It’s the last thing you would think, that scheme, that plan.”

The inquest continues.

For more of freelance reporter Barry Keevins’ coverage, go to