AN army instructor who indecently assaulted a teenage recruit at a barracks in North Yorkshire is behind bars.

Gary Black was told by a judge that he had ruined the promising career of the young soldier with his drunken and perverted behaviour.

Gulf War veteran Black was a corporal in the Royal Dragoon Guards based at Cambria Barracks at Catterick Garrison at the time of the assault in the 1990s.

His victim, 17, woke to find Black fondling him, and told in a statement that he froze a the “surreal” experience, and there was an overwhelming smell of alcohol.

The trainee tank driver kept his ordeal a secret for more than two decades, but other recruits made his life hell with two years of bullying before he left the army.

In a statement, he said: “Although the act itself was horrible, the aftermath he left was much worse. I hold him responsible for ruining my Army career.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how Black was convicted by a military court of indecent assault when he was stationed in Germany in 1986, and later cleared of a second similar matter because his alleged victim was so drunk he could not remember what had happened.

Although he was not dismissed, he was banned from entering soldiers’ single-occupancy accommodation - an order he breached seven years later at Catterick.

Jailing him for 15 months, Judge Stephen Ashurst told Black: “The fact that you had been convicted in those circumstances ought to have got you on your guard to avoid contact with younger men if you were tempted to behave indecently towards them.

“Indeed, the army put measures in place, rather than dismissing you, to ensure you were not left in circumstances where this sort of behaviour might have happened again.

“You had been plainly warned off and ought to have taken note that if you had tendencies or were attracted to younger men, it was up to you to do something about it.”

Black, now a married father aged 53 and living in West Sussex, continued in the army and left after 12 years service before working as a prison officer and more lately in airport security.

His lawyer, Robert Mochrie, said he was in the process of being dismissed as a result of his guilty plea to indecent assault at an earlier hearing.

When he was questioned by police last year, Black initially insisted he had never met his accuser, and was about to stand trial when he finally confessed.

Judge Ashurst branded his earlier account “plainly nonsense” and said he was “perturbed” that he was now claiming he had no memory of sneaking into his room and fondling him.

Mr Mochrie said: “The real punishment in this case for a man like Mr Black is the fact that after all this time he has had to face the music. He has had to go back 25 years to face justice for what he did at that point in his life when he appeared to be abusing alcohol.

“He now faces the immediate loss of his job because of his guilty plea. Fortunately for him, he has a wife who stands by him.

“Clearly, Mr Black has been able to move on and [his victim] has not, but hopefully now both those men can move forward with their lives and put this firmly in the past.”

In his statement, Black’s victim said details of the abuse finally came out when he was receiving counselling several years ago.

“At the time of the assault, I felt unable to disclose what Gary Black had done for fear of retribution.

“What he did to me was horrible and sick, and left me feeling scared and fearful of other instructors.”