Ex-deputy head at Prince George’s prep school jailed for child sex abuse
A former deputy head at the first school Prince George and Princess Charlotte attended has been jailed for child sexual abuse offences.
Matthew Smith paid £65,000 for two teenagers in India to abuse younger children, the National Crime Agency said.
The 35-year-old was online asking for sexual images of a child at the time of his arrest.
Having pleaded guilty to 22 counts, including encouraging the rape of a child under 13, causing a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and arranging the sexual abuse of a child, Smith was jailed for 12 years at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, the NCA said.
Smith, from East Dulwich in south-east London, was arrested by the NCA in November 2022, after investigators discovered he was sharing abusive material on the dark web.
The “prolific offender” was caught just a few months after he had been appointed deputy head of pastoral care at Thomas’s prep school in Battersea – the school George and Charlotte attended until their move to Lambrook School in Windsor in September last year.
For the majority of his offending, Smith was living in Nepal, working at a school, and also spent various periods working in orphanages and NGOs across India between 2007 and 2014.
He moved back to the UK in July 2022 and began working at Thomas’s Battersea in September, where he was a deputy head and head of pastoral care, the NCA said.
That summer, Smith posted an online advert looking to secure a flat share, saying he was a primary school teacher and could assist with childcare.
“He was arrested before he could be taken up on his offer,” the NCA said.
Smith was sacked by the school when his offending was revealed, and there is no evidence to suggest he committed offences against children based in Nepal or the UK.
NCA investigators interrogated chat logs and financial transactions and were able to establish that Smith had paid two teenagers based in India a total of £65,398 to abuse children over a five-year period.
Chat logs showed Smith would instruct the young men to perform sexual acts on boys.
Officers recovered more than 120,000 indecent images of children which the teacher had saved on a laptop, SD card and on his phone.
Smith was made subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and has been placed on the sex offenders register for life.
Helen Dore, senior officer at the National Crime Agency, said: “Matthew Smith is a prolific offender and master manipulator, who coerced young men into abusing children on his behalf.
“He constantly sought out opportunities to gain access to children, but was adept at hiding his sexual interest in them.
“He conducted his offending while working as a teacher and head of pastoral care – a deep betrayal of the trust placed in him.”
Children’s charity the NSPCC said Smith’s offending demonstrates why the UK Government’s Online Safety Bill is “so crucial”, because it will “finally compel tech companies to do far more to protect children from sexual abuse on their sites”.
The Bill is a new set of laws designed to protect children and adults online by making social media companies more responsible for their users’ safety.
A spokesman for Thomas’s Battersea said: “We have been shocked and appalled beyond measure by this matter and are grateful for the work of the police and courts in bringing this man to account.
“Mr Smith’s employment at the school, which commenced in September 2022, was terminated with immediate effect when the school first learned of the charges against him in November.
“While the National Crime Agency has confirmed that none of the matters under investigation related to the school or its pupils, these deplorable actions constitute an unforgivable breach of trust and our thoughts are with those who have been impacted or damaged by them.”Published: by Radio NewsHub