Former Lincolnshire academy boss shocked by fraud allegations

Richard Gilliland arrives at court
Image caption Richard Gilliland used to live in Nottinghamshire but now lives in Spain

A former senior staff member at an academy group has told a fraud trial he is astonished and shocked at allegations made against him.

Former Priory Federation chief executive Richard Gilliland, 64, is accused of misusing school credit cards to buy hundreds of personal items.

He is also accused of suppressing his son's convictions for possessing heroin and indecency to get him a job.

Ex-finance director Stephen Davies, 58, also denies fraud charges.

The trial previously heard Mr Gilliland ran up bills on school credit cards in a "greedy" abuse of power.

It is alleged he suppressed the results of a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check so his son Kia Richardson - who had served a jail term for outraging public decency - could work at an equestrian centre run by the Priory.

'Troubled past'

But giving evidence, Mr Gilliland told Lincoln Crown Court there was "absolutely no truth" in the claims.

Asked by his barrister, Mark Harries, what his reaction was, he replied: "Astonishment, I suppose - a great deal of shock and hurt at some of the things that have been said."

Mr Gilliland told the court he would often use his own money and credit cards to buy items for the school.

He said he was always owed money by the federation and used its credit cards to make his own purchases as "an off-setting exercise".

On the subject of his son, he said he had told colleagues about the prison term and that they were aware of Mr Richardson's "troubled past".

The Priory Federation runs four schools in Lincoln and Grantham.

The court was previously told Mr Davies assisted by arranging payments for courses for Mr Richardson, but he has claimed he was "bullied" by Mr Gilliland.

Mr Gilliland, who now lives in Spain, denies seven charges of fraud by abuse of position and Mr Davies three.

The alleged offences are said to have happened on various dates between 1 October 2008 and 30 November 2011.

The trial continues.

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