Northampton social worker denies raping boy in his care

A SOCIAL worker has told a jury there is no truth in allegations he raped and sexually assaulted a child in his care.

Peter Fordham, aged 46, is accused of rapes and sexual assaults while employed as a key worker at St John’s centre, Tiffield in the 1990s.

He denies charges of rape and indecency with a child, who was aged 12 and 14 and cannot be identified, and is on trial at Northampton Crown Court.

Giving evidence, he said there had never been any inappropriate conduct with his accuser, who had behavioural and emotional difficulties when put into the care of social services in the mid-1990s.

Matthew Kirk, defending, said: ”The complainant has spoken about being specially treated and punished less than the others. Is that correct?”

Fordham said: “That’s absolutely not correct. The sanctions and bonuses book at the centre would show he was punished more that the other children particularly in view of some of the staff being antagonistic towards him.”

It is alleged the youth was subjected to repeated sexual assault while on fishing trips, as well as rapes said to have happened in Fordham’s car on trips back to the centre from Derbyshire, Hampshire and at his then homes in Towcester and Northampton.

Asked if he had stopped in a lay-by and raped the youth while driving back from Castleton in Derbyshire, Fordham denied giving him alcohol, adding: “No I didn’t give him alcohol. I absolutely did not rape him on that journey.”

The court heard social services reports at the time showed funding to send the youth to a boarding school had been turned down.Mr Kirk said: “The complainant’s perception was you were manoeuvring to keep him at St John’s so you could continue to abuse him by preventing his move to a boarding school. What do you say about that?”

Fordham said: “I was manoeuvring my hardest to get him to a quality school that I thought would benefit him.”

The jury has heard the main witness is said to have visited Fordham’s homes, contrary to the rules for social workers. Fordham told the jury he had contacted police and other social workers when the youth turned up at his home in Lower Hester Street, Semilong.

Mr Kirk said: “The visits to your home, were they welcome or not? Looking at the entirety of your work with him, was there anything inappropriate about your conduct with him? Was there anything inappropriate in your motives in caring for him as you did?”The former police officer replied “No sir” to each question.

The trial continues.