Ex-Lincoln academy boss considered retirement before he resigned, court hears

The Chief Executive of the Priory Federation of Academies (PFA) was trying to reduce his hours and was considering retirement in the final months before he resigned, a jury heard on Friday, November 27.

Former chief executive Richard Gilliland denies defrauding the PFA out of thousands of pounds as well as employing his son, Kia, after suppressing a CRB check which revealed his past criminal convictions.

A jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told that Gilliland appeared physically unwell and was under great mental strain during the months before he left his position in March 2012.

Giving evidence Lee Mackrill, deputy head at the Priory’s Lincoln School of Science and Technology, (LSST) told the jury that towards the end of 2011 he was assisting Gilliland with reducing his hours with a view to retirement.

Under cross-examination from Gilliland’s defence barrister Mark Harries, Mackrill said he was not aware that Gilliland had been turned down for a sabbatical.

Asked by Harries if Gilliland was a man who looked physically unwell, Mackrill replied: “I would agree with that.”

The court heard that in December 2012, Mackrill was asked by Lincolnshire Police to confirm on a tick list which items on an Amazon purchase schedule were present in the LSST.

Mackrill confirmed a number of items were present in the school including a soup maker, various DVDs and CD’s, an iPad case, iPad 2, iPod Classic and Tom Tom Sat Nav system.

A number of romantic novels with titles such as “Kiss at midnight,” “A lady never tells” and “Perfect bride” were also stocked in the school library, Mackrill told the jury.

Under cross-examination from Harries, the deputy head accepted that it was possible he would not be able to find every item listed in such a big site or those items that were un-returned by students.

“There were lots of places for storage,” Mackrill said.

Mackrill also admitted that he did not search a set of temporary staff flats located next to the LSST.

Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, denies six charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011.

The PFA’s former finance director Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, also denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.

Follow the progress of the trial so far:

Due to the judge’s ruling on Friday, November 13, any comments on the ongoing trial on The Lincolnite will be removed.