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Extended Prison Sentence for Former Nottinghamshire Children’s Home Worker after Being Convicted for Further Historical Sexual Abuse

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Jacob Shaw

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

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TW: this article covers themes of sexual abuse

A woman in her 40s bravely came forward in 2023 to speak about the abuse she suffered as a child at First Avenue children’s home in Carlton, Nottinghamshire. Her abuser, Dean Gathercole, had been previously convicted for abusing other young girls at Amberdale, another children’s home ran by Nottinghamshire County Council at the time. We hope that she can achieve the justice she deserves and that this can encourage other potential victims to come forward, even if the sexual abuse was not recent. .

In March 2023, former Nottinghamshire Children’s Home worker Dean Gathercole was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against the woman, who he had met when she was a child living at a children’s home in First Avenue, Carlton, Nottinghamshire. This added four more years to his existing prison sentence, as he was already serving 19 years after having been previously convicted in May 2018.

Gathercole’s Previous Convictions

In 2018, Gathercole was found guilty of 6 counts of indecent assault and three counts of rape in relation to two girls who were aged 15 and 16. This occurred when he worked at Amberdale children’s home in Stapleford as a residential social care home worker in the 1980s. As with First Avenue children’s home, Amberdale was also operated by Nottinghamshire County Council – who are already under fire for failing to protect children.

Gathercole was named in the July 2019 Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s investigation into services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which concluded that there had been widespread physical violence and sexual abuse in many of the children’s homes run by Nottinghamshire County Council.

The report has since been released, which notes that the inquiry received evidence of over 350 complainants who made allegations of sexual abuse whilst in the care of Nottinghamshire Councils from the 1960s onwards, though the true scale is likely to be higher.

For a total of five decades, the Council failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse, and report concludes with;

“Most institutions referred to in this report failed children who were sexually abused whilst in the care of Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City Councils, to a greater or lesser extent. These included elected members, senior managers, frontline social work and residential staff and foster carers within both of the Councils, and Nottinghamshire Police”

Though there are notable methods and efforts taken by the council to apologise and conduct investigations, sadly, with cases like these, it is often too little and too late for the victims.

If you were abused as a child under the care of any Nottinghamshire Councils, then we are here to listen.

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A Further Survivor Comes Forward About Dean Gathercole’s Abuse

A further victim of Gathercole’s abuse recently waived her anonymity in the Nottinghamshire Post and spoke out about the abuse in the hope that other survivors will do the same.

She spoke of how, during his time as a deputy supervisor at First Avenue children’s home, Gathercole had indecently assaulted her three times when she was below the age of consent. Gathercole then went on to abuse her at Centre Parcs in Sherwood Forest, at just 13 years old. She described the way in which Gathercole took advantage of her “crush” on him when she was a young teenager and groomed her with gifts, as she also explained that she “adored” the “larger than life character”.

The survivor,  has sadly suffered abuse and mental health disorders, including PTSD, for her entire life since leaving the children’s home when she was 15. She managed to find the courage to report Gathercole’s abuse to the police in 2018, who were able to fully investigate and provide the vital support she needed.

After Gathercole was found guilty of abusing her, the survivor praised the work that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), and the Nottinghamshire Police Force officer did to bring him to justice. She said Detective Constable Stephen Dunn and the rest of the team had “been amazing” and “massively supported” her. She also spoke of “the whole team’s passion for getting justice for men, women and children who are abused.”

To other victims of sexual abuse, she said: "If you can find that little bit of bravery somewhere, come forward. You have been through worse. Because it is worth it, and empowering”.

Our Abuse Solicitors here at Simpson Millar commend her bravery in waiving her anonymity and hope her words will resonate with other survivors of abuse and give them the courage to come forward, if they have faced similar circumstances.

Colin Pettigrew, Corporate Director for Children and Families at Nottinghamshire County Council, said that Gathercole’s conviction “would not have been possible without the determination, courage and bravery of this woman. She has waited many years for the truth to be exposed and justice to be served.”

He added: “Successive leaders of Nottinghamshire County Council have previously apologised for what they recognise were failings of this council in how it protected children, in this instance decades ago. We and the police continue to investigate any allegations of historic abuse, however long, ago and would encourage any victims who have not yet come forward to do so and they will be fully supported.”

How We Can Help if you were Abused as a Child

Our Abuse Team have been helping survivors of abuse for more than 20 years and can help you take the first steps towards making a civil claim or criminal injuries compensation claim.

We’re also proud partners of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), who have a free support line for survivors of childhood abuse.

When you're ready to talk, we're ready to listen. Call us on 0808 239 1287 and make the first step towards justice.


Nottingham Post. (2023). One of Nottinghamshire's most notorious abusers named as Frank Beck. [Online] Available at:

BBC News. (2023). Abuse inquiry: One of Nottingham's most notorious abusers named. [Online] Available at:

ITV News Central. (2018). Former social worker found guilty of historic sex offences. [Online] Available at:

Nottingham Post. (n.d.). Child Abuse Inquiry. [Online] Available at:

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). (n.d.). Nottinghamshire Councils. [Online] Available at:

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). (2022). Investigation Report: Nottinghamshire Councils. [Online] Available at:

Nottingham Post. (2023). Survivor of one of Nottinghamshire's most notorious children's home abusers speaks out. [Online] Available at:

NHS. (n.d.). Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). [Online] Available at:

National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). (n.d.). [Online] Available at:

Jacob Shaw

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Jacob proudly holds a First-Class law degree from Lancaster University, which he achieved in 2021. Before joining Simpson Millar, he gained experience as a Legal Assistant at another law firm, dealing predominantly with Personal Injury cases. His duties there included assisting with claimant road traffic accident cases, and public liability and employer's liability matters.

His commitment extends beyond the courtroom. At the age of 17, he was already volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Morecambe, assisting with a range of issues, from employment and benefits to consumer disputes. Recently, he was involved in a fundraising initiative for the National Association of People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). Jacob also participated in a sponsored walk in August 2023, aiming to further contribute to this worthy cause.

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