An army sergeant was demoted and detained for six months after punching and twisting the nipples of “raw recruits” to toughen them up, a tribunal has heard.
Lance Sergeant Liam Cruise-Taylor targeted seven young recruits in the Irish Guards, part of the household division of the army which provides protection for the Queen.
In a bullying campaign which took place at Catterick Infantry Centre, North Yorkshire, he repeatedly punched young recruits while they were on parade and elbowed one in the chest, telling him to "stand up and take it like a man" when the blow caused him to double over.
In further incidents which took place between July 2016 and February 2017, the 32-year-old also twisted one soldier's nipples and slapped another recruit in the face after he said Cruise-Taylor's name incorrectly.
The veteran soldier, who had a previous exemplary military record, was sentenced to six months' service detention and demoted to lance corporal after he admitted ill-treating subordinates at a courts martial in April this year.
He served his time at the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, formerly a wartime Prisoner of War Camp, but last week his case reached London's Criminal Appeal Court as Cruise-Taylor tried to challenge his sentence.
The soldier's legal team urged the Appeal Court to substitute a suspended sentence and reinstate him as a lance sergeant.
The soldier had served over a decade in the Army, the court heard, and carried out a gruelling combat tour in Afghanistan.
He had been singled out as "one of the best junior NCO's in the Irish Guards" before his disgrace, said Lord Justice Davis.
"There was a great deal to be said in favour of him, it's plain that he loved the Army and was determined to do well in his career," he added.
But Lord Justice Davis, who was sitting with two other judges, refused to interfere with the punishment.
"It is to be borne in mind that, taken overall, this was a bad case of bullying," he said.
"A number of young recruits were involved while in training, and what happened happened over a considerable period of time.
"It cannot be said that what occurred here was isolated offending. Given the circumstances, reduction in rank was almost inevitable.
"No lance sergeant can possibly behave in the way he behaved - taking advantage of his rank and status with regard to raw recruits."