Care home worker had boy in his room

THE FORMER head of a Barnardo’s care home claims he saw a residential social worker in a state of undress at midnight with a boy in his room.

Timothy Hayter told Maidstone Crown Court he encountered Richard Gallacher at Knotley Hall in Tonbridge after knocking on his door.

Gallacher, of Marina, St Leonards faces 13 charges of indecent assault and two other serious sexual offences allegedly committed against seven boys.

Mr Hayter told the court he had returned to the home one night in mid-1985 to find Gallacher in his underpants and shirt holding a can of lager.

He said he had returned to the home and heard voices coming from the room where Gallacher was on ‘sleeping in’ duty.

Mr Hayter said he went to ‘investigate’ but when he had knocked on the door and tried the handle it was locked.

He said: “I asked to come in and was told: ‘Not yet.’”

He said that after a short while Gallacher let him in.

“He was partly clothed. I think he was in his underpants and had a shirt on. He had a can of beer or lager in his hand,” said Mr Hayter. He added that there was a boy in the room and asked what was going on.

He told the jury : “I think he was fully dressed but I can’t remember the response. I asked Mr Gallacher to come with me to discuss what was going on. I sent the boy to bed.”

Mr Hayter said he made it clear to Gallacher who is alleged to have wooed his victims with drugs and alcohol before abusing them, that having a boy in a locked room when there was no-one else present, and drinking while on duty was unacceptable.

He said Gallacher told him the boy had gone to his room to discuss a personal family matter with him and that nothing of a sexual nature had happened. Mr Hayter also revealed that Gallacher had lied when he applied for the job at the home by saying he had a university degree when he did not.

However, Mr Hayter added that Gallacher was good at his job and had appeared to relate to the youngsters. But he said he had been concerned about him getting too friendly with the pupils.

The court was told by another residential social worker, Janet Harper, she had seen him with the boys and that he had seemed to be ‘too close’ to them.

“I felt there was something amiss,” she said. “I didn’t quite understand why they were drawn to him. There were a few I remember being around him. He gave a lot of his time and there was something I couldn’t put my finger on.”

The trial continues.