Former Deepcut trainer jailed for sex attacks

A sado-masochistic ex-training instructor from the controversial Deepcut army barracks was sentenced to four and half years in jail today for a catalogue of sex attacks on young male soldiers.

Kingston Crown Court heard how Leslie Skinner, 46, took advantage of his apparent superiority to prey on four young men during the 1990s - three at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey and one, earlier, at Arnhem Barracks in Aldershot.

Skinner, of Marton near Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, had already been convicted of a sexual offence by an army court martial before he was sent to Deepcut where he carried out the bulk of his attacks.

The court heard that Skinner had been convicted of indecently exposing himself to a 17-year-old boy by a court martial in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in 1996 where he was reduced in rank to private.

But rather than being discharged from the army he was sent to Deepcut.

Judge Charles Tilling said: "For some reason best known to itself the army then placed you in a position where you were in contact with and had influence over young recruits.

"Far from heeding the warning that your reduction in rank should have given you, you proceeded to indecently assault another three young vulnerable soldiers.

"Those who enter the army at that sort of age have and should expect to be able to have protection from this sort of behaviour."

The judge told Skinner, who is now married with two young children aged four and six, that he would be jailed for two years on one count of indecent assault and a further two and a half years for a further four.

Skinner had been due to stand trial at Kingston Crown Court in September facing nine charges of indecent assault and one of male rape.

But he changed his plea at the 11th hour and admitted five counts of indecent assault. Following an application from the prosecution today the judge formally quashed the outstanding charges.

Skinner's activities first came to light when one of his former victims decided to speak about the abuse after watching a discussion on the BBC's Kilroy programme.

Four eventually came forward to tell police of assaults ranging from one waking up to find Skinner performing a lewd act on him to others being made to take part in sado-masochistic sessions.

At Deepcut, where he was a training instructor, Skinner kept canes and a riding crop in his locker which he used for sexual kicks.

During one attack Skinner used of a Black and Decker Workmate.

The court heard that following the incidents for which he was convicted today he was also court martialled for a further indecent assault and jailed for six months before being discharged from the army.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent