Soldiers Get A Decade and Half Jail-Sentence For Atrocious Acts On Vulnerable Teens
Jason Ferguson, 18, and John Ward, 19, preyed on two vulnerable young men after inviting them into a dark alley when they dealt onerously with them “for entertainment”.
Ferguson and Ward were given a combined sentence of 15 years. Ferguson was sentenced to eight years in a young offender institution and Ward was detained for seven years at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.
The two soldiers met a 16-year-old deaf boy with autism and his 18-year-old autistic friend – on a night out in Sennybridge, Wales, near their training centre in the Brecon Beacons.
A court heard the susceptible teens were “naive, trusting and innocent” as they believed the soldiers were being friendly.
Prosecutor Sue Ferrier said:
“What happened beggars belief. They were unlucky enough to cross the paths of these men who had been drinking all night and were heavily intoxicated.
‘Their two victims were targeted. They were identified because of their particular vulnerabilities.
‘They led sheltered lives. They were particularly naive. They did not appreciate they were being lined up with what was to follow – a brutal and sadistic attack”.
Both victims were verbally abused, being called “spastic” and “mongol” while the soldiers recorded it on one of their phones.
The 16 year-old deaf boy was beaten into coma by Ferguson while Ward held back his autistic friend.
Miss Ferrier described it as a ‘shocking and sustained beating’ which left him in a coma for three days.
Court heard that:
“The older victim was then punched, kicked and hit with a pot from a nearby house. He managed to flee – leaving a trail of blood on the street. The soldiers burned their clothing in woodland before heading back to camp after the attack in July of last year.
Ferguson hid under a truck when military police began looking for him”.
Ferguson, who is from Leyland, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to two counts of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Defending lawyer, Jeremy Jenkins, said: “Ferguson had an atrocious childhood after being abandoned by his drug addicted parents. On entry to the army at age 16 he seemed to have attained a degree of maturity”.
Ward, from Oakley, Fife, admitted wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding.
John Ryan, Ward’s attorney, said: “Had it not been for Ferguson he would not have done what he did. He has brought shame on the Army and apologizes for that.’
Judge Daniel Williams told the soldiers:
‘You saw those boys as entertainment and you saw their differences as reason to torment and bully them and beat them unconscious.
“It was a chilling and sadistic attack. There was gratuitous degradation. Miraculously, there was no long term physical injury”.