Dean Gathercole, father of six and an ex social worker has been convicted of six counts of indecent assault and three counts of rape against two victims in the 1980’s. The victims at the time were residents of the Amberdale Children’s Home.
Gathercole denied all the charges against him and appeared “pale and shell shocked” when he heard the Jury’s verdict. From the dock, Gathercole said, “I didn’t do anything.”
The Police were first approached in 2000 when one of the victims reported her allegations to them. At this time the Criminal Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute. The second victim contacted the Police in 2014 and the investigation was reopened.
On arrest Gathercole denied the charges, he told the Police that, “no such thing had happened” and that, “he didn’t remember the girl’s name.”
Judge Jeremy Lea sentenced Gathercole to nineteen years imprisonment. He told Gathercole,
“The reality is you got away with this for far too long. It is difficult to imagine a greater or more despicable breach of trust.Once at Amberdale they should have been able to feel safe and protected as they moved towards adulthood. As their social worker, it was your task to advise, assist and befriend them. These teenagers placed their trust in you and you took advantage of your position and abused their trust”.
Judge Lea said, “ Gathercole calculated that he would get away with it and indeed must have thought he had done. “Well, you were wrong,” he told him.” Well, your dark past has caught up with you”.
The Court heard that one of the victims was raped in Gathercole’s mother’s bedroom and he touched her in his car and in her bedroom at Amberdale. The victims were said to have had a close relationship with Gathercole. “One of the girls adored Gathercole, the other looked up to him as her surrogate big brother”.
Colin Pettigrew, Corporate Director for Children and Families at Nottinghamshire County Council has made the following statement:
“The successful conviction of Gathercole would not have been possible without the determination, courage and bravery of his two victims. They have waited many years for the truth to be exposed and justice to be served. Today, they have seen that happen. Gathercole was employed in positions of trust by the County Council between 1983 and 1997 and he betrayed that trust in the most despicable ways.
The women, who have survived his horrific crimes whilst in our care as children in the 1980s, should have been offered the highest level of safety and protection and it is clear from evidence given in court, that they were not. We deeply regret and sincerely apologise to them for that. Abuse of children is totally unacceptable and I would positively encourage anyone who has suffered abuse of any kind to come forward and report it either to ourselves or to Nottinghamshire Police.”
The current leader and previous leader of Nottinghamshire County Council have both apologised for what they recognise were failings of this council in how it protected children.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) will examine this fully later this year.
Jordans Solicitors represent victims who have suffered abuse at Amberdale Children’s Homes and many other homes in Nottinghamshire. We would encourage anyone affected by this article to report their allegations to the Police and contact us to pursue a civil case. We have a team of highly specialist lawyers who can ensure that your claim is handled sensitively, enabling you to secure the best level of compensation from those responsible for your traumatic experiences. Call is free on 0330 300 1103 or complete a call back form.