In the Media

Soldier jailed for five years for selling comrades' medals

PUBLISHED November 16, 2011

Colour sergeant Gordon Hill took medals from eight soldiers and sold them on eBay for ?7,000 A soldier has been jailed for five years after stealing medals from his comrades and selling them on eBay. Colour Sergeant Gordon Hill took medals belonging to eight soldiers who were on sick leave or operational duty and made almost ?7,000 by posting them on the online auction site. Victims described their sense of shock and betrayal that one of their own had stolen from them. One said that he now felt it hard to trust his fellow non-commissioned officers. Jailing Hill today, Judge Douglas Field told him: "Your victims were no less than your fellow sergeants, who had every right to believe that they should be able to trust their colleagues. You have broken that trust in the most disgraceful way. Their medals had been awarded to them in recognition of meritorious service in the British army and particularly their campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Each told of the emotional attachment of their medals. This is made more poignant by the fact that some of their comrades had died." Swindon crown court heard that Hill, from Darlington, County Durham, stole the medals from rooms at Warminster garrison in Wiltshire between 2008 and 2010. Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told the court that the medals had ended up as far away as New Zealand ? as Hill made ?6,936 from the sales. Squires read impact statements from six of the victims, who have all had their medals returned or are in the process of getting them back. Sergeant Andrew Turnbull said in his statement: "My medals represent personal blood spilt overseas." He described Hill's actions as a "complete betrayal of trust". Sergeant Mark Wall, another victim, said: "The theft of my medal and the fact that another fellow senior non-commissioned officer breached my trust and friendship makes me feel sick. We are a very close unit, and trust each other implicitly. Theft on no matter what scale can destroy the trust in a unit." Before he got his medals back, Sergeant Thomas Salter, a soldier for 20 years, said he would not attend any Remembrance Day parades because of his loss. He spoke of feeling "upset and degraded" and said each medal was a "poignant reminder of good and bad". Sergeant Kevin Blackley, speaking about the loss of his Afghan medal ? since returned ? said: "This is the most important medal I have. We lost five from our battalion and three from our reconnaissance force. My Afghan medal serves as a chilling reminder of the price we pay for the freedom that we take for granted." Sergeant David Taylor said: "I wear these medals with great pride, and they are a reminder of my life in the army. I now find it hard to trust any of my fellow NCOs." Alex Daymond, defending, said that his client ? who had spent 22 years in the army and served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan ? still maintained his innocence. Hill, 38, who has twice been court martialled for stealing from comrades, was found guilty of eight counts of theft or burglary and 12 counts of fraud. Judge Field expressed surprise that the married father was still in the army when he stole the medals, given his previous offences. The court heard that he was now in the process of being discharged from the army. Military Crime Remembrance Day Steven Morris © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds