November 2018

72-year-old jailed for 5 years after series of child sexual abuse offences

A former Air Cadets leader has been jailed for five years after he was found guilty of a string of historic sex assaults.

Ronald Hardman had “ruined” the life of three teenage boys at the squadron where he was involved for 39 years until 1998.

That was during his reign as a senior member at the 327 Squadron in Kilmarnock.

On Thursday, Sheriff Elizabeth McFarlane told Hardman the efforts of his counsel in securing deletions from charges were the “only thing” stopping her from referring his sentence to the High Court for a possible lengthier jail term.

Jailing him to five years in jail, she said: “These offences took place over a period of time when you were in a position of trust.

“At that stage these young boys had their whole life in front of them. You destroyed that. You destroyed their innocent childhood.

“I note you have no remorse and continue to deny your wrong doing. You accept no responsibility and I expect nothing I do today will pay back the men for what you have done to them as young men.

“The deletions are the only thing stopping me sending this through to the High Court.”

Jurors heard last month how the sexual assaults happened at the organisation’s Mews Lane headquarters and elsewhere between 1981 to 1995. At the time, Hardman was a senior warrant officer.

Giving evidence at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, two of Hardman’s three victims broke down in tears as they recalled the harrowing abuse they suffered.

Hardman, of Culzean Crescent, Kilmarnock, carried out the abuse when he was in his 40s and 50s. Now aged 73, he is facing a future in jail.

Sheriff McFarlane added: “There is no alternative to a custodial sentence. I will impose five years in prison, as the maximum I can impose.

“You will be placed on the sex offenders register for an indefinite period.”

One of his victims told jurors how sick Hardman sexually assaulted him when he was just 13, saying “he would touch my genitals” .

Now married with two children, the 49-year-old also told how the smell of whisky still haunts him after Hardman gave it to him along with adult magazines.

Crying in the witness box, the father-of-two continued: “I didn’t ask for this.

“I’d be sitting down, he would touch me and he would always be smiling. All the time I was being interfered with.

“When I became sexually matured and got an erection at the magazines he showed me, he would masturbate me.

“To this day, I can’t stand the smell of whisky.”

Jurors took less than four hours to find Hardman guilty of four out of the five charges against him.