Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Shock and horror at crimes
9:10am Friday 9th March 2012 in News
POLICE have described George Lord’s crimes as an “abuse of authority”, while former colleagues have expressed their shock and horror.
After yesterday’s hearing, Detective Inspector Jon Wallis said: “While these two cases were separated by many years, in both George Lord has abused a position of authority.
“In the first case in the 1970s, he was a lay minister of a church who groomed a teenage girl for his own gratification.
“Then in 2010, in his capacity as leader of Worcestershire County Council, he took advantage of a young woman in a junior position.
“The women he targeted, who have been left traumatised by their ordeal, have shown great fortitude to support a prosecution and achieve justice for themselves.
“We would like to reassure any other victims of similar offences that if they come forward, West Mercia Police will support them and pursue prosecutions wherever possible, regardless of when the offence took place. We encourage them to contact us and, at the very least, we can put them in touch with support agencies.”
Councillor Liz Tucker, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “I’m shocked. What else can you say?
“Obviously it’s better for it not to have continued to go through the courts so that people did not have to go through the pain of being witnesses in court.
“All I can say is I’m very shocked and it’s a sad business, particularly as its the end note of a very able man.”
Coun Peter McDonald, leader of the Labour group, said: “I’m just horrified and ashamed that an elected leader of Worcest-ershire County Council could have acted the way he did.
“An elected person using his position like that is outrageous. I think everybody feels ashamed, he’s certainly brought his position into disrepute. It’s awful for the victims.” Councillor Adrian Hard-man, the Conservative leader of Worcestershire County Council, said in a statement: “As soon as the allegation was made, we acted swiftly to support the member of staff, outline the options available to her and to present the information, which at that time was at an unsubstantiated stage, to Dr George Lord who resigned with immediate effect on Satur-day, November 6, 2010 – a matter of days after the incident.
“This information was made public by the county council at the time.
“It’s important to me that staff feel able to come forward and the council’s focus as an employer has been on providing support throughout this period.
“I can reassure you that appropriate behaviour is expected of everyone at the council – no one is exempt.
“Any allegation against any member or officer of the county council, wherever they may sit within the organisation, would be taken extremely seriously and appropriate support provided to any members of staff affected.”
It was a far cry from comments Coun Hardman, then deputy council leader, made in 2010.
Then, there were calls for his resignation after he described five separate complaints alleging Lord acted inappropriately towards women staff as “absolutely at the lower end” of the scale.
He also remarked: “Thirty years ago this never would have seen the light of day”, but later defended it as a statement of fact.
Adrian Gregson, branch chairman of Unison, said: “Unison is pleased that the claims that were raised about him have been through a proper process and vindicated the original complaints.
“We hope that it says that courts are prepared to take action in these matters and that employees in all organisations, but particularly in local government, should not be afraid to come forward with complaints about behaviour of this nature and trust they will be taken seriously.”