September 2019

Paedo Kilmarnock air cadet officer jailed after abusing 12 kids over 35 years

A former air cadet officer has been caged for nine years after abusing 12 boys.

Ronald Hardman preyed on the youngsters in a sick 35-year grooming campaign at the squadron in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

The beast, 74, was locked up for five years at the town’s sheriff court last November after being convicted of attacks on three teenagers.

But a huge investigation involving cops speaking to 300 former cadets led to fresh allegations.

More victims then bravely came forward to reveal how they also suffered at the hands of Hardman.

The court heard Hardman abused his position to “groom and control” a string of young cadets.

He molested one boy during a fitting for a uniform and showed others  porn magazines, suggesting they play strip poker and made them swim naked.

He would also try to buy their silence by giving them money, sweets or takeaway meals.

The pensioner today returned to the High Court in Glasgow after he admitted to 15 charges consisting of lewd and libidinous conduct as well as indecent assault.

Prosecutor Eoghainn MacLean said: “Many of these victims have suffered years of anxiety and trauma as a result of the criminality.”

The attacks occurred at different locations including the squadron hall, a campsite and at Drumness Forest in Dumfries and Galloway.

One boy – aged 13 when he joined the ATC – was abused between 15 to 20 times and was given lager by the OAP.

The pervert told the terrified boy it would be “good” for his “promotion” if he let Hardman touch him.

Another teenager was attacked with the help of two other cadets.

This victim was pulled to the ground and preyed upon during a trip away with the corps.

During one attack, prosecutor Mr MacLean said: “Hardman just laughed as if everything was fine.”

Sentencing the beast, Lord Beckett said he had “blighted” the lives of his victims with his “pre-meditated” and “grossly corrupting” crimes.

He also told Hardman that such conduct “besmirched” the reputation of organisations like the air training corps.

The judge added: “It is apparent that you deceived, manipulated, groomed and coerced the boys.”

Hardman’s nin-year jail term will run from today.

August 2019

Kilmarnock air cadet leader Ronald Hardman convicted of more sex assaults

A former air cadet officer is facing more prison time nine months after he was convicted of sexually abusing three teenagers.

Ronald Hardman, 74, admitted 15 charges consisting of lewd and libidinous conduct as well as indecent assault.

A court heard he preyed on boys over a 35-year period at the squadron in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

The charges were brought after a fresh investigation during which 300 former cadets spoke to police.

As a result 12 victims came forward to reveal how they had also suffered at the hands of Hardman, who will be sentenced next month.

The court heard he was a trusted volunteer warrant officer at the Kilmarnock Air Training Corps (ATC) between 1960 and 1995.

Hardman abused his position to “groom and control” a string of young cadets.

He would also try to buy their silence by giving them money, sweets or takeaway meals.

Prosecutor Eoghainn MacLean said: “Many of these victims have suffered years of anxiety and trauma as a result of the criminality.”

The attacks occurred at different locations including the squadron hall, a campsite and at Drumness Forest in Dumfries and Galloway.

One boy – aged 13 when he joined the ATC – was abused between 15 to 20 times.

Hardman gave the teenager a can of lager and told the boy it would be “good” for the youngster’s “promotion” if he let him touch him.

Another teenager was attacked with the help of two other cadets.

This victim was pulled to the ground during a trip away with the corps.

The sex abuse over the years also involved Hardman showing boys pornographic magazines, suggesting they play strip poker and getting them to swim naked.

During one attack, prosecutor Mr MacLean said: “Hardman just laughed as if everything was fine.”

The victim kept quiet about what happened for decades. Some admitted to feeling “ashamed”.

Police were initially alerted to Hardman around 2004 but it is not known what happened at that time.

But, in February 2017, the a BBC documentary highlighted historical sex abuse in cadet forces.

This led to his conviction at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last year.

Mr MacLean said: “Attempts were then made to trace as many cadets as possible who might have been abused by Hardman.

“Over 300 cadets were spoken to by police officers.”

As a result, more charges were brought against Hardman.

Lord Beckett deferred sentencing for reports.

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.