May 2011

Foster carer Patrick Gallagher jailed for child sex abuse

An  ex-foster father who sexually abused vulnerable boys for more than a decade has been told by a judge he “should die in jail”.

Patrick Gallagher, 60, from Mansfield, admitted dozens of charges against 16 young victims.

At Nottingham Crown Court, he was given life, with at least 14 years in prison.

Police believe Gallagher, who was also a swimming coach and youth club volunteer, abused other children and have urged them to get in touch.

Judge Michael Stokes QC told Gallagher he had grossly breached trust placed in him as a carer and said the damage he had done was “incalculable”.

Gallagher admitted 55 charges including rape, indecent assault and sexual activity with a child.

The abuse happened between 1998 and 2010.

The judge told him: “I am trying to recollect a worse case and I can’t.

‘Sexual satisfaction’

“You abused young boys on an unprecedented scale. The damage you have done is incalculable.”

He told Gallagher he had taken advantage of the boys’ naivety, immaturity and vulnerability and had repeatedly raped some for his own sexual satisfaction.

The judge concluded: “These offences are so grave that I cannot contemplate any circumstances where the parole board are likely to release you. You shouldn’t be released. You should die in prison.”

Nottinghamshire County Council’s corporate director of children’s services Anthony May said an independent serious case review would take place

After the hearing, Det Con Rhona Keenan, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “In every case Gallagher abused young, vulnerable children for his own deviant gratification and in so doing betrayed in the most appalling sense the trust that had been placed in him.

“These 16 victims have had the courage to come forward and relive extremely painful experiences in order to secure justice and we pay tribute to them.”

‘Rogue foster carer’

The police said they believed Gallagher, who also volunteered as a swimming coach and at a youth club, would have abused other children they were not yet aware of and have encouraged people who may have been assaulted by him to contact them.

Anthony May, corporate director for children’s services at Nottinghamshire County Council, described Gallagher as “a rogue foster carer, a man who was intent on doing harm.”

He said he had been de-registered as a foster carer in 2007 following an allegation of inappropriate behaviour and that the authority had commissioned a serious case review following the court case.

Mr May added that following Gallagher’s arrest in November 2010, all records relating to his fostering career and children he looked after had been independently reviewed.

He said: “There is no information on the files which revealed any significant practice short-comings or which indicate that the children and young people were left knowingly unsafe.”