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Pervert deputy head who secretly filmed boys could have been stopped two years before he was found hanged after trying to destroy evidence
- Martin Goldberg taught at Thorpe Hall School in Great Wakering, Essex
- Police found hundreds of images they believe came from his hidden camera
- 75 indecent images from school's male changing rooms were recovered
- 465 such images from local swimming pool and 38 from two other locations
- Officers spoke to him at his home in Shoeburyness but he was not arrested
- Next day police were alerted over concerns for him and he was found dead
- Mr Goldberg, 46, was single and lived alone in a £360,000 detached house
Deputy head: Martin Goldberg, 46, was found dead a day after police questioned him over allegations he had purchased child pornography from abroad
A paedophile deputy headmaster who secretly filmed his pupils was left free to continue his abuse for more than two years after police failed to act on information that he could be a danger to children.
Martin Goldberg, who had worked at the £10,000-a-year private school for more than 20 years, was named to British authorities as a suspect in July 2012.
He was among 2,345 individuals suspected of having accessed child pornography whose names were handed to the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) following a major inquiry in Canada.
But the CEOP failed to act on the information from Toronto Police’s Operation Spade – and it was only in November last year that Essex Police were told that Goldberg had been buying videos of naked boys from a vendor based in Canada.
Even then, Essex Police did nothing about the 46-year-old until three weeks ago – almost a year after being informed.
Nor did officers warn Thorpe Hall School in Southend, where Goldberg, an IT expert, regularly took children away on school trips.
The blunders were compounded when officers failed in a bid to get a search warrant from a magistrate.
So they simply visited the paedophile’s home, just over a mile from the school, and politely asked if they could examine his computer. He refused and the officers left without arresting him.
Within hours, however, he tried to destroy the evidence by reportedly setting fire to his computer and other devices and paperwork – and then hanged himself in the garage of his £360,000 four-bedroom home.
Detectives were still able to recover 75 images taken on a camera that was hidden in a bag in the school’s male changing rooms.
Workplace: Mr Goldberg was employed at £10,600-a-year Thorpe Hall School in Great Wakering in Essex
'Well-regarded teacher': The school headmaster said governors and staff felt 'shocked, angry and betrayed'
There were 465 images from a local swimming pool and 38 from two other unknown locations.
Detectives said the victims are boys aged from nine to 12 and the images were taken from 2000 onwards. Four boys aged between nine and 12 have been identified as featuring in the images, and their parents informed.
But in many other cases, faces are not shown, or are out of focus, making it impossible to know the full tally of his victims.
Detectives who searched Mr Goldberg's home after he died discovered hundreds of images they believe came from a camera hidden inside a sports bag
Home: Mr Goldberg was single and lived alone in this £360,000 detached house in Shoeburyness, Essex
The case has sparked fresh fears about potentially thousands more paedophiles being left unchecked, despite evidence against them, because UK police are taking so long to act on masses of information from child sex investigations overseas.
Another name on the list of 2,345 suspects given to British authorities by Toronto Police was cancer specialist Myles Bradbury, 41.
Last month Bradbury pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual assault and 12 counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child, with many of the offences taking place at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Shocked: School headmaster Andrew Hampton said everyone at the school felt 'surprised, angry and betrayed'
He was known to the authorities in 2012 – 16 months before he was arrested for abusing ill children – but investigations were ‘shelved’ until November 2013.
He is expected to be jailed when he returns to court for sentencing.
Last night shocked parents at the school where Goldberg taught were struggling to cope with the revelation. A source close to the school told the Daily Mail it was feared that as many as 25 pupils had been covertly caught on film.
He had also masterminded his school’s computer system, issuing iPads to all pupils. His digital mastery has led to fears of what else he could have done, and concealed.
Yesterday Essex Coroners’ Office confirmed an adjourned inquest had been told that Goldberg died by hanging. There were calls for a thorough investigation into the delays in the investigation. Local MP James Duddridge said: ‘Questions do need to be asked of Essex Police around how quickly this was dealt with.’
Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: ‘I expect the independent watchdog to investigate thoroughly and rigorously. My initial judgement is that it is likely that something has gone badly wrong here.’
Police informed Thorpe Hall’s headmaster, Andrew Hampton, that his deputy had killed himself after he had been questioned about buying films of young boys.
Initially Mr Hampton planned a remembrance ceremony and paid a glowing tribute, telling a local newspaper: ‘It’s a cutting edge school and he was a cutting edge guy. He was an ideal deputy and I couldn’t have asked for better.’
Yesterday, however, Mr Hampton said in a statement: ‘Everyone at Thorpe Hall School feels surprised, angry and betrayed.’
Yesterday an Essex police spokesman said there was no evidence of physical abuse by Goldberg of any children. There had been insufficient evidence to arrest Goldberg, he added.
Yesterday, a resident in the cul-de-sac where Goldberg lived said: ‘I’ve heard he hanged himself in the garage and was burning papers in his office before then.’ Goldberg’s parents Harvey, 77, and Sheila, 72, live nearby. They were not available for comment.
Essex Police only yesterday reported itself to the IPCC for its long delay in investigating Goldberg – weeks after his death.
Last night an NSPCC spokesman said: ‘It is very concerning there appear to have been considerable delays in these cases before the police have taken action.’
Essex Police was alerted to concerns over Mr Goldberg as part of Operation Spade - a Canadian police operation which identified hundreds of suspected paedophiles. This graphic shows where leads were sent to
OPERATION SPADE: CANADIAN PROBE THAT IDENTIFIED HUNDREDS OF SUSPECTED PAEDOPHILES
Essex Police was alerted to concerns over Mr Goldberg as part of Operation Spade - a Canadian police operation which identified hundreds of suspected paedophiles.
A total of 35 files were passed to the UK force as part of this operation. All information of criminal offences has now been acted on with two people being charged and 18 people still under investigation.
MailOnline reported last November that hundreds of British suspected paedophiles had still not been arrested despite being identified by Canadian police 18 months earlier.
Canadian detectives said they sent police ‘hundreds of names’ of people who viewed ‘horrific’ child abuse videos distributed from Toronto by a crime ring.
Globally, as of last November, 348 arrests had been made and 386 children rescued. Last year the Daily Mail revealed only one in 15 people caught viewing such images is arrested.
Operation Spade started in 2010 and has worked with Interpol in more than 50 countries.
More than 350,000 images and 9,000 videos of child sexual abuse have been found.
One case is known to be that of children's doctor Myles Bradbury, who earlier this month admitted a string of sexual offences against cancer sufferers in his care aged as young as 11.
- For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 08457 90 90 90, visit a local Samaritans branch or click here for details
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