Woman claims former children’s care worker attempted to rape her

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

One of the alleged sex abuse victims of a former children’s care worker claims she was preyed upon in a stairwell, on a camping trip and in the accused’s car.

Duncan Ritchie, 71, of Highfields Way, Holmewood, Chesterfield, allegedly committed sex offences amounting to 28 charges during the 1980s against two boys and four girls who were at Greenacres home, in Clay Cross, and against a girl at Lindenhurst home, in Chesterfield.

Derby Crown Court heard on Wednesday, October 25, during an on-going trial how one of the complainants - who cannot be named for legal reasons - claimed Ritchie kissed and groped her in a stairwell, attempted to rape her in a tent and forced her to have oral sex in his car.

The complainant said during police interviews she had first gone to Greenacres when she was aged about 15 or 16 and Ritchie allegedly attempted to rape her while she was in a tent with others during a camping trip to Cambridge.

She said: “Duncan Ritchie got on me and he was quite strong and I remember him being quite strong and he tried to have sex with me.”

The complainant, who said Ritchie used to make her skin crawl, added: “All I can say is that it felt more like he enjoyed having that power over me. That he could do what he wanted and there was nothing I could do.”

She stated she had been frightened and could not say anything because she feared being placed in a secure unit or that she would lose her privileges and life could have been made very difficult for her.

Ritchie is also accused of pinning the complainant into a corner on a stairwell before he allegedly kissed and groped her.

The complainant said: “He got me pinned up in a corner so I couldn’t move and he was kissing me. He was physically trying to grope me. I am sure someone came because he left.”

She also claimed she had been forced to have oral sex with Ritchie in his car after he had taken her to a playing field to watch his son play cricket. The complainant stated she remembered being terrified and claimed being pushed down and feeling sick.

Ritchie has denied two counts of indecent assault and one count of attempted rape in relation to this complainant.

In total, 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, oral sex and sado-masochism. Eight of these involved alleged multiple incidents. Some of the complainants claimed they had felt helpless to complain, according to prosecuting barrister Simon Ash, after one was told not to be silly and another argued there had been a culture of not say anything.

The trial continues.