Tortured: Young Army recruit tells how he went AWOL after becoming a victim of brutal bullying


The Mirror

“It all lasted about 10 minutes. If it was to happen in civvy street, all those lads in that picture would be arrested. But it’s a normal day in the Army.”

A teenage soldier is pinned to a bed with his trousers pulled down – as comrades ­torture him for ­refusing to go out drinking.

These distressing images – printed with the permission of the victim – today expose an alleged culture of brutal bullying inside one of Britain’s most decorated regiments.

Taken at the German headquarters of the famous Rifles infantry division, they show the recruit – fresh out of basic training – being stripped half naked, tied up and subjected to humiliating physical abuse by soldiers in the same unit.

His hands and feet are bound together with tape as four soldiers pin him to the floor.

In one image, an attacker is shown targeting his genitals. In another, he is held face-down as he desperately tries to protect his bare backside with his bound hands.

The victim, 18, whose identity we are ­protecting, has returned to the UK after going absent without leave and faces time in a military jail.

He said of the abuse he has suffered: “You learn to take it. If you complain, it just gets worse, so you keep your mouth shut.”

Now desperate to leave the Army after joining two years ago aged 16, he says his dream of ­serving his country has turned into a nightmare.

But he feels unable to overcome the complex legal obstacles involved in terminating the four-year contract he signed.

Instead he must return to Germany where he faces imprisonment for going AWOL. He is likely to have to rejoin his unit for a five-month tour of Afghanistan, where the Rifles regiment has served with distinction, losing more than 60 soldiers since the war began. It is claimed that officers are aware of bullying but routinely ignore it.

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