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Wednesday, 24 November, 1999, 21:48 GMT
Home-owner child abuse conviction
Mold court heard that Richard Leake made a fortune

A businessman who made a fortune from looking after children in care is convicted of 14 charges of indecent assault against boys.

The charges against Richard Ernest Leake, 58, relate to a period in the 1970s.

Judge Roger Dutton said at Mold Crown Court that it was clear the experiences of the boys at Leake's hands were still with them.

Leake denied abusing five boys in the 1970s when he was a supervisor at the former Bersham Hall at Wrexham, run by the old Denbighshire County Council.

Leake abused his position, the court heard
He later became principal at Ystrad Hall at Llangollen.

"Although this happened a long time ago, it amounted to a gross and serious breach of trust," said Judge Dutton.

During the trial, Leake claimed the charges were "wicked lies" and that he would never have done such a thing.

His defence suggested the complainants could have been motivated by financial considerations.

He said they could have heard there was compensation available after the publicity surrounding the North Wales Child Abuse Tribunal.

Abused position of responsibility

But the prosecution said that Leake abused his position of responsibility over the boys and indecently assaulted them, thinking no one would believe them because they were disturbed and difficult children.

It was claimed during the trial that when one boy did complain, nothing was done and he was actually chastised.

Mr Leake's company was paid by social service departments throughout the country to cater for some of their most difficult children, described during the trial as among the 10% most disturbed and maladjusted children in the UK.

Leake showed no emotion when the jury of seven men and five women returned their unanimous verdicts.

He was remanded in custody for pre-sentence reports. There was no application for bail.

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See also:
21 Jan 98 |  UK
Child abuse hearing enters second year
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