Ratcliffe had just completed his training to become a sergeant when he returned to RAF Brampton for a social occasion at the base. A hangar was converted in to a space for the informal party.
At the time, Ratcliffe was a non commissioned officer. He returned to RAF Brampton following his training for the social and in anticipation of being posted elsewhere. Following the social Ratcliffe followed a new recruit to his barracks. The recruit fell asleep and Ratcliffe used this opportunity to indecently assault him.
The assault was not reported at the time as the recruit was, rightfully, concerned about the impact of such a complaint upon his career.
When sentencing Ratcliffe the judge noted that from the recruit’s perspective Ratcliffe’s actions were an abuse of trust given the officer’s age and the fact he was in a position of influence.
The judge sentenced Ratcliffe to 9 months imprisonment for the offence. Passing judgment he stated that an immediate custodial sentence was appropriate given the fact Ratcliffe has expressed no real remorse and the fact that he was a senior officer at the time.