A former Nottinghamshire children’s home worker has been jailed for raping and indecently assaulting two girls in his care in the 1980s.
Dean Gathercole, 53, of Westcliffe Avenue, Radcliffe-on-Trent, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault and three counts of rape at Nottingham Crown Courtyesterday (Friday, May 4) following an eight day trial.
He was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Gathercole preyed on the teenage girls in the late 1980s when he worked at Amberdale Observation and Assessment Centre for young people in Stapleford. But it wasn’t until 2015 that one of his victims felt she could come forward.
She described how Gathercole, in his position as her key worker, sexually assaulted her and raped her in a flat at Amberdale. He told her that if she said anything about it to anyone, they wouldn’t believe her.
Another woman described how Gathercole took her to his mother’s home in Radcliffe-on-Trent and raped her. After that he continued to harass her and indecently assaulted her at Amberdale.
She eventually ran away from the home and didn’t report what had happened because she didn’t think she would be believed. Later Gathercole told her she had been discharged from the home and that there was nothing he could do about it.
A complaint was made by the woman in 2000 but at the time the CPS concluded that no further action could be taken. This was reviewed under Operation Equinox – Nottinghamshire Police’s ongoing inquiry into abuse in children’s homes – and the charges were authorised thanks to new and significant information.
Nottinghamshire Police senior investigating officer Rob McKinnell said: “It has taken immense courage for these women to go through what they have done in order to see Gathercole brought to justice and I thank them for showing that it can be done.
“People often talk about how things were different back then and in some respects that’s right – the fact that this young girl thought she wouldn’t be believed is something we have heard when it comes to non-recent cases. Today, I’m glad to say things are different, people are listened to.
“I hope this case sends a message to survivors of non-recent child sexual abuse that Nottinghamshire Police takes any report very seriously. We strive to get justice for people so I would urge anyone who has experienced this to come forward and report it to us.”