Lincoln academy paid £2,480 bill for CEO’s son to attend training course, court hears

The Priory Federation of Academies paid out over £2,000 on fees for a training course for the son of the chief executive, a jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told on Wednesday, November 11.

A £2,480 bill paid by the federation covered the fees for Kia Richardson to attend a course at the West Bridgford Equestrian Centre, even though Richardson was not employed at the time by the federation.

The federation’s former finance director Jean Willey, giving evidence on the second day of the fraud trial of Richard Gilliland and his former “right hand man” Stephen Davies, told the jury that it was only later that Richardson was employed as yard manager of the federation’s Laughton Manor Equestrian Centre near Sleaford.

Willey said that Richardson was appointed to the post in February 2011 although the equestrian centre only opened two months later.

Stephen Davies. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Stephen Davies. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Earlier David Allan, prosecuting, told the jury that Richardson should not have been employed as he had previous convictions for flashing and masturbating in public as well as for possession of heroin.

But the results of an enhanced CRB check which revealed this were allegedly suppressed by Gilliland and Davies with the document ordered to remain unopened in an office drawer.

Willey said she later discovered a job reference written by Stephen Davies on behalf of Richardson which stated that although Richardson had a “chequered past” that related to matters some time ago and the federation would benefit if he was given the position.

The jury was also told that payments made for Richardson to attend an equine training course at Writtle College, Chelmsford, were recorded in the federation accounts as being for refurbishment work at an education centre in France which was owned by the organisation.

Richardson resigned his post following inquiries made by the News of the World newspaper into the affairs of the federation but Willey said she later found a document which showed an attempt was made to reject the resignation.

Although Richardson did leave he received three months severance pay despite being employed for less than six months.

Gilliland, who was paid £200,000 a year as chief executive of the Priory Federation, and Davies, a former maths teacher who was appointed finance director, are alleged to have defrauded the organisation out of thousands of pounds.

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

Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.

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