Former government apprenticeships adviser Doug Richard was accused of multiple child sex offences, when his trial opened today at London’s Old Bailey.
The 57-year-old multimillionaire, whose 2012 Richard Review of Apprenticeships triggered ongoing reform proposals, faces three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and a charge of paying for sexual services.
Prosecutor Gino Connor told the jury that Richard, of Islington, north London, paid a 13-year-old schoolgirl to be his sex slave after meeting her on a “sugar daddy” website.
The court also heard that he gave the girl and her 15-year-old friend £480 in cash and PayPal deposits, including the train fare to travel from Norwich to the capital to meet him.
He was arrested on January 5 last year at the Lord Milner Hotel in south west London, the court heard.
Richard denied the charges, insisting the sex was “consensual” and that he “reasonably believed” the alleged victim was aged 16 or over, while the money was not for sex but to help with travel expenses.
FE Week reported on January 19 that Richard had been arrested in connection with the alleged attack.
At the time, he said: “I absolutely deny the allegations made about me. It would be inappropriate to comment further given that the police are at a very early stage of their investigation.”
The Richard Review of Apprenticeships, which recommended giving employers control over apprenticeship funding, has continued to impact on the FE sector since its publication in 2012.
As well as apprenticeships, he worked closely with the government as a member of the Small Business Task Force, which advised Chancellor George Osborne and Prime Minister David Cameron.
The trial is expected to go on for four days and the defence case is yet to open.
Photo and copy credit: Press Association