“I was bullied into it”, says former Lincoln academies’ finance director in fraud trial

The former chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies Richard Gilliland was described to police as a “ruthless man” who always got what he wanted, a jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told on Tuesday, December 8.

Stephen Davies, the organisation’s former finance director who is on trial for fraud alongside Gilliland, told police in an interview that Gilliland would “let rip” at other members of staff.

Davies claimed that elections for parent and staff governors were rigged.

The jury heard that Davies told police:

“It was a standing joke that these weren’t done very honestly. All the staff and parent governors were just the ones that Mr Gilliland wanted. I thought it was outrageous.”

Davies added: “You know when they say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Richard Gilliland thought he was invulnerable.

“He could do anything he wanted. He rode roughshod over everyone and everything that got in his way. He was very single-minded. He wanted these things. People had to make it happen.”

“Terry Coffey [the chair of the trustees] just went along with everything he said. It is very hard to find an occasion when they said ‘no’ to him. He got rid of governors who got in the way. I can think of several.

“He was known as a ruthless man who always got his own way and woe betide anyone who got in the way of him.”

Richard Gilliland (right) appearing at Lincoln Crown Court with his lawyer on November 10 accused of fraud. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Richard Gilliland (right) appearing at Lincoln Crown Court with his lawyer on November 10 accused of fraud. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Davies said he loved teaching but he hated every minute of his job as finance director and chose to retire immediately after his 55th birthday.

He admitted in the interview that he agreed to overtime payments for Gilliland’s son Kia Richardson which should not have been made.

But he told officers: “I was basically told to do it.

“I was bullied into doing it. I’m not pleased. I’m not proud of it. I should not have done it.”

Richard 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, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues on Wednesday afternoon.

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.