A soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a tour of duty in Afghanistan held two members of his unit hostage, beating and threatening to kill them before attempting to kidnap them from their North Yorkshire base.
Lance Corporal David Millican, of the first battalion the Mercian Regiment, held one of the privates for several hours in his own barracks room at knife-point after a night of drinking last August.
He then took the terrified soldier to the room of the second private, where he stubbed a cigarette out on the second man’s face and threatened to cut his face to resemble The Joker from the Batman film and comics.
Millican, 25, then tried to kidnap the men from the Catterick base by car, but fled with one in the boot after the other managed to jump out at 30mph and raise the alarm at the guardroom.
Millican released his second victim in the nearby village and called 999 to hand himself in to police, telling the operator: “I think I lost the plot”.
The soldier, originally from Great Manchester, who has been in the Army since February 2009, was jailed for four years by the court martial in Colchester, having previously admitted charges of false imprisonment, assault and kidnap.
The court martial heard he was suffering mental problems caused by his service in Afghanistan, during which he witnessed “horrific events”.
Judge Advocate Emma Peters said he had subjected the men to an “inhumane” experience in a place they should have been able to feel safe. “It’s quite obvious they have been hugely affected by these events,” she said. “We cannot imagine the terror they must have felt at the hands of someone of a senior rank.”
The court martial heard his victims, who are now serving in Afghanistan with their unit, had been traumatised by the incident in the early hours of August 19.
The first soldier was in bed when Millican burst into his unlocked room at around 3.30am.
He was subjected to a four-and-a-half hour ordeal while wearing just his boxer shorts as Millican punched him repeatedly, ranting that he was thinking of stabbing him to death and brandishing a kitchen knife.
Major Jane England, prosecuting, said: “He said (afterwards) he did not think he would get out of the room alive and was very scared.”
Millican forced the soldier to help him on with some Osprey body armour and apply camouflage face paint to him before taking him to the room of the second soldier, who owned a car, at around 8am.
Here he made the first soldier mistreat the second, including ordering him to throttle him to the point of unconsciousness.
After the first soldier deliberately went easy on him, he did it himself. He also stubbed a cigarette out on the young soldier’s cheek.
“He made reference to a Batman film in a bid to make him think he was going to be cut,” Maj England added.
The court heard that the soldier who escaped by the gate, when Millican kidnapped them at around 9am, was so shocked he could not hold a cup to drink from and could not speak for 15 minutes.
Millican had told them he was taking them to his brother in Manchester, who would decide whether he should kill them or not.
Stephen Andrews, defending Millican, said the soldier was suffering with PTSD at the time, without realising. Instead he had been drinking heavily.
“He tells me that when he came back from Afghanistan he knew he had witnessed some horrific events,” he said.
He said Millican was horrified by what he had done and relieved neither victim had had to leave the Army because of what he did.
Millican will also be demoted to the ranks and dismissed from the Army.