Former care worker denies 28 sex charges from his time at two children’s homes

Pictured is Derby Crown Court.
Pictured is Derby Crown Court.

A former care worker has been accused of committing 28 sexual charges involving seven teenagers while he was based at two children’s care homes.

Derby Crown Court heard on Tuesday how Duncan Ritchie, 71, of Highfields Way, Holmewood, Chesterfield, allegedly committed offences during the 1980s against two boys and four girls who were at Greenacres home, in Clay Cross, and against a girl who was at Lindenhurst home, in Chesterfield.

Prosecuting barrister Simon Ash said: “He abused six of the seven complainants when he worked at Greenacres and these complainants were residents at the home. The defendant met the seventh complainant at Lindenhurst.”

Ritchie has pleaded not guilty to 24 counts of indecent assault, one count of indecency with a child, one attempted rape and two rapes.

Alleged indecent assaults and indecency counts include a range of claims including molestation, masturbation, oral sex and sado-masochism. Eight of these involved alleged multiple incidents.

One complainant claims he was abused by Ritchie when he was aged 15 and this relates to two counts of indecent assault. Another claims he was abused between the ages of 13 and 15 and this relates to two indecent assault counts and one of indecency.

A 15-year-old girl was allegedly abused by Ritchie during the 1980s and her claims amount to three indecent assault counts. Another’s claims, from when she was aged 16 and 17, amount to two indecent assault counts and one attempted rape.

Ritchie is also accused of five counts of indecent assault and two rapes against a complainant who claimed she was abused when she was aged 15 and 16. A further complainant was allegedly sexually abused when she was aged 14 and this relates to eight indecent assault counts.

During Ritchie’s time at Lindenhurst he also allegedly abused a seventh complainant when she was aged between 16 and 17 by burning her bottom and around her genitals and he allegedly hit her back and bottom with a cane. Her claims relate to two counts of alleged indecent assault.

Mr Ash also claimed Ritchie baited and “rewarded” some of the complainants with cigarettes and perfume.

Three of the complainants claimed they felt helpless to complain at the time, according to Mr Ash, after one was told not to be silly and another argued there was a culture that you did not say anything because nothing would be done.

Another claimed extracts from her diary had been removed concerning alleged indecent assaults and that she was told to stop making up stories, according to Mr Ash.

Mr Ash said: “She told police, ‘I felt I had nowhere to go. I had no one. I had no one to turn to and had no choice’.”

The same complainant also claimed that the defendant told her, ‘she could say what she liked, do what she liked, tell who she liked it would not make any difference’.

Ritchie was arrested in January, last year, and was interviewed by police five times and he has denied all the allegations.

The trial continues.