Army cadets sergeant admits indecency offences

Craig Bannatyne appeared in court to admit indecency offences.
Craig Bannatyne appeared in court to admit indecency offences.

An army cadets sergeant caught trying to film boys in a toilet was later found to have sexually assaulted a child.

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.

Bannatyne (22), of Linksview Road, was put on the sex offenders’ register when he appeared at Hamilton Sheriff Court. 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 porn.

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.”