Ex-Lincoln academy boss’ son left trust in “turmoil”, jury told

The Priory Federation of Academies Trust was in “turmoil” following the resignation of the Chief Executive’s son, a jury has been told.

Kia Richardson, the son of Chief Executive Richard Gilliland, handed in his notice in July 2011, the day after inquiries were made about him by the News of the World newspaper, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

The jury has been told Richardson was employed by the federation despite having previous convictions for outraging public decency and serving a prison sentence.

Elizabeth Turner, who was employed as a development manager and company secretary for the federation, admitted the trust took legal advice from a barrister and a firm of solicitors regarding Richardson’s future employment.

The advice given was that Richardson, who was employed as the yard manager at the federation’s Laughton Manor Equestrian Centre, near Sleaford, should either resign or be sacked, the jury has heard.

Under cross-examination on her third day in the witness box Elizabeth Turner admitted that a Sunday meeting was held at the home of a senior member of staff while Gilliland was away in Spain.

“The whole trust was in turmoil,” Mrs Turner said. Asked if that was because of Richardson’s position she replied: “Yes.”

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

Former finance director Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Drive, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.

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