Hundreds of indecent images of pupils found at dead teacher’s home
A Southend teacher was found dead in his home a day after being questioned by police concerning the possible purchase of indecent child imagery. Essex police later discovered “nearly 600 indecent images of boys taken secretly” stored on his computer.
Martin Goldberg, 46, a teacher with 23 years tenure at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was questioned by Essex police on the 9th of September 2014 following allegations of purchasing indecent child imagery over the internet. No arrest was made due to “insufficient evidence”.
A day later police returned to find Goldberg dead with serious wounds at his home in Shoeburyness, south-east Essex. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
On investigating Goldberg’s home, police found 465 indecent images which were taken on a hidden camera in the swimming pool and 75 images taken at Thorpe Hall school’s male changing rooms. A further 38 images appear to be taken at two other locations. Police said the images “appear to be of boys aged nine to 12” and seem to have been taken on a camera “hidden in a bag”
It later emerged that officers had received intelligence from police in Toronto as to Goldberg’s involvement in the procurement of indecent child images back in November 2013.
The police commissioner for Essex, Nick Alston, expressed concern over the discovery: “It is important that we understand why it took nine months for the force to act on this information. There may be valid reasons but we deserve an explanation.”
Police say there is no evidence of other offences involving physical contact with children, or that anyone else was aware or involved in Goldberg’s criminal activity.
Thorpe Hall school have been fully cooperative with police investigations, yet staff were shocked at the discovery. Head teacher at Thorpe Hall, Andrew Hampton, said: “The school governors and staff are all very shocked by the news about Mr Goldberg. He was a well-regarded teacher who had an exemplary record during his 23 years at the school and there were no indications whatsoever that Mr Goldberg was leading a double life.”
Essex police force have referred its handling of the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to scrutinise possible failures which may have resulted in the gap between receiving intelligence and the investigation itself.
Alston said: “It would be wrong of me to pre-empt the findings of that investigation, but my initial judgement is that it is likely that something has gone badly wrong here, including possibly in the original assessment and review by the CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre).”
Four children have been identified from the pictures and parents have been contacted. The local authority is now working closely with police and the school to ensure “rigorous” safeguarding arrangements are reviewed and upheld.