Former academy chief executive describes allegations as ‘a total lie’

Lincoln Crown Court.
Lincoln Crown Court.

The former chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies, Richard Gilliland this afternoon (Tuesday) described allegations that he had effectively stolen thousands of pounds from the organisation as “a total lie”.

Gilliland, who was in the witness box for a fifth day at Lincoln Crown Court, was accused by prosecutor David Allen of spending Federation money on himself and his family.

Mr Allen said to him: “You have spent that money on training for your son, wages for a job that he shouldn’t have been given, overtime for him that he wasn’t entitled to, books, DVDs, computer games and a sauna pool all for the benefit of yourself and your family.”

Mr Allen was referring to the employment of Mr Gilliland’s son, Kia Richardson at the Laughton Manor Equestrian Centre, near Sleaford, owned by the Federation, despite having past convictions which included an offence of outraging public decency which resulted in a jail sentence.

Gilliland responded: “It’s total nonsense.

“I totally refute every single suggestion you have made. At no time did I ever do anything dishonestly. Throughout my career I have constantly given to whatever I have worked in. I have never in my life taken anything I wasn’t entitled to.”

Gilliland was earlier questioned about items he bought using Federation credit cards including a Roy Chubby Brown DVD.

Gilliland admitted that Chubby Brown could be described as a “blue comedian” but said the DVD was acceptable to be placed in the library of the Federation’s French Centre.

He told the jury: “I think it would be perfectly acceptable in the French Centre where there is a library for staff.

“I have no issues with sixth formers looking at Roy Chubby Brown. Its not the 19th century.”

The jury has heard that Gilliland used Federation credit cards to buy a number of 18-certificate items as well as games and DVDs.

Purchases made by him included Battle Cry, Mortal Kombat Conquest and Aliens vs Predators.

He said that personal purchases he made using the credit cards were offset by money he was owed by the Federation.

Gilliland said: “There was no personal gain because it was money offset against money owed. There was never a time when I wasn’t owed money.”

He said that on occasions he used Federation credit cards for personal purchases rather than his own card because it was easier and more convenient for him.

Richard Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, has denied seven 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 tomorrow (Wednesday).