Strathaven army cadet sergeant who sexually assaulted 12-year-old boy caged for 21 months
A Strathaven army cadet sergeant was today jailed for 21 months after being exposed as a child abuser who filmed himself carrying out vile sex acts with a young boy.
Depraved Craig Bannatyne, 22, was snared after a 15-year-old boy found his mobile phone taped to the wall of a gents toilet in the cadet hall.
It was later discovered that the pervert had been trying to secretly record young recruits at the urinals by setting the iPhone to record video images.
A probe was launched and on January 30 last year, officers raided Bannatyne’s Motherwell home where they seized a laptop from his bedroom containing 21 indecent images of children.
The vile child sex abuse pictures were category A level – the most extreme – and showed adults sexually assaulting children as young as six months.
Following further forensic investigation of his computer, police also discovered sickening footage of Bannatyne forcing a 12-year-old boy to perform sex acts on him.
Shamed Bannatyne broke down during a police interview and admitted to cops the laptop was his and that indecent images of children were there.
He pled guilty to assaulting the boy and possession of illegal images of children. He went on to plead guilty to bombarding his young victim text messages between June 18, 2014 and July 19, 2015.
The court heard last month that a total of 4234 messages were discovered between Bannatyne and the victim.
At Hamilton Sheriff Court today Bannatyne’s defence lawyer said his client came from a good, supportive family and understood the seriousness of the charges.
He said: “The offending started when he was from 18 years of age and the most serious charge was committed when he was 20.
“It’s a progression when you seen this certain type of behaviour. These are very serious charges, the issue is whether he receives a substantial custodial sentence or a community payback order.”
Sheriff Ray Small said because of the sexual assault it was difficult for him to consider dealing with Bannatyne any other way than custody.
Sentencing Bannatyne, Sheriff Small said: “Because of the gravity of these charges the only appropriate disposal is a custodial sentence.
“Due to the seriousness of these offences I need to ensure the public is protected therefore I will pass an extended sentence of 33 months.”
The sheriff imposed a 21-month jail term and told Bannatyne he will be supervised for a further 12 months upon his release.
Bannatyne was also placed on the sex offender’s register for 10 years and told he should never work with children again.
Sheriff Small added: “Because the offences involved children I will recommend to the Scottish Ministers that you are unsuitable to work with children.”
Pervert sergeant caught trying to secretly film junior cadets in a changing room
An army cadet sergeant has been exposed as a child molester after he tried to film junior members of his platoon in their changing room.
Craig Bannatyne, 22, hid his phone in a cardboard box and set it to record young male cadets as they used the toilet and showers.
He was caught when a 15-year-old spotted the suspicious package and raised the alarm.
Bannatyne, of Motherwell , was confronted by senior cadets and police were called to the group’s base.
An investigation found footage of Bannatyne sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy
Police also discovered dozens of indecent photographs of children as young as six months when they seized a laptop from Craig Bannatyne’s Motherwell home.
He admitted hiding a phone in a toilet of a cadet hall in another part of Lanarkshire in a bid to get images of boys in a state of undress.
Bannatyne also admitted sexually assaulting a boy of 12, sending messages of a sexual nature to a cadet and possession of child sexual abuse images and movies.
Callum Forsyth, prosecuting, said Bannatayne taped his phone to the wall of a toilet at the cadet hall in January last year.
It was partially hidden by a pipe, but a cadet aged 15 noticed it when he went to a urinal.
The matter was reported to the police and a few days later officers carried out a search of Bannatyne’s home.
His phone was seized as was a laptop which was found to contain 72 indecent images of children which he had downloaded from websites.
Mr Forsyth told the court: “Of particular concern was a clip showing the accused sexually assaulting a young boy. It was established later that the child was 12 at the time. “This had been recorded on his mobile phone and transferred to his laptop.
“It happened in June 2015 in the bedroom of the accused’s home. “When police interviewed Bannatyne he accepted the images were on his laptop. He broke down when asked questions about the sexual assault.”
Mr Forsyth said examination of Bannatyne’s phone showed more than 4,000 messages had been exchanged with a cadet over a 13-month period when the boy was aged between 13 and 15. Bannatyne told the boy he had a “soft spot” for him.
The messages suggested he became agitated when the boy didn’t return his compliments, and he brought up subjects of a sexual nature.
Sheriff Ray Small deferred sentence until April 27 for background reports and a risk assessment.
He told Bannatyne, who had his bail continued: “You have pleaded guilty to a number of charges, some of which are particularly serious and unpleasant in nature.”