Former care worker cleared

Richard Gallacher
Richard Gallacher

A FORMER residential worker at a Barnardo’s home has been found not guilty of abusing boys in his care.

Richard Gallacher, 58, of Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea, was yesterday (TUES) cleared by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court after a three week long trial.

The jury spent around 11 hours locked in deliberations over two days.

Mr Gallacher had denied 13 charges of indecent assault and two serious sexual offences.

They were alleged to have taken place in the 1980s and 1990s while he was working at Knotley Hall in Chiddingstone Causeway near Tonbridge.

The premises was closed down and moved to West Wickham near Orpington in Kent.

The court had been told the alleged offences involved seven boys.

It was after a complaint in 2012 that case was investigated.

Children who had been in his care during the 1980s and 90s were contacted by police and other victims were then said to have emerged.

After being cleared by the jury, Mr Gallacher was given a conditional discharge in relation to charge of possession of cannabis to which he had pleaded guilty.

Mr Gallacher, who was brought up in a children’s home, had been working in customer services for Tesco for eight years. But he told the court that he had to put his life on hold when he was accused of the offences.

He said: “I encountered great difficulties. I have had to sell my car and my Tesco shares.”

The court heard one alleged victim was later convicted himself of raping a 15-year-old boy.