Maths teacher and deputy head Martin Goldberg, 46, who was found dead at his home in Shoeburyness two weeks ago, the day after he was spoken to by police about images of naked teenage boys
A deputy head teacher who secretly filmed hundreds of pupils undressing in school changing rooms was not questioned by police for nine months despite intelligence to suggest he was a paedophile, it has emerged.
Martin Goldberg, 46, a maths teacher at the Thorpe Hall School in Southend, Essex, is thought to have taken his own life earlier this month, the day after police attended his home and questioned him about allegations he had bought indecent films featuring young boys.
When police searched his house following his death they discovered more than 400 voyeuristic films and still images of children undressing, taken using a secret camera hidden in his school, a swimming pool and local leisure centr
It has now emerged that Essex Police were tipped off about the unmarried teacher’s activities as early as November last year, but only questioned him for the first time three weeks ago.
The families of four youngsters identified in the secret films have been contacted by police and offered support, but at this stage there is no suggestion that Goldberg abused any of the children sexually.
Essex Police said the faces of the children in the other images were not visible or the footage was too poor for them to be identified.
An urgent investigation led by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has now been launched to determine why there was a delay in the investigation, and to ascertain if any of the secret recordings were made during the nine months he ought to have been on the police radar.
Nick Alston, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex said parents deserved an explanation about why detectives did not act on warnings about Goldberg sooner.
He said: “I am a parent and a grandparent, and I share the shock, concern and anger that people in our communities are feeling about Goldberg’s behaviour.”
He added: “I understand the original information from police in Toronto suggesting that Goldberg had purchased videos of naked boys several years ago was received by Essex Police in late November 2013.
“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.”
Canadian detectives are understood to have first contacted the National Crime Agency in London last November alerting them to the fact Goldberg had bought material from a foreign website which could contain images of naked male children.
The intelligence had been gathered as part of Operation Spade an international investigation led by police in Toronto into the activities of an online retailer based in Canada that was trading as a film distribution company.
The National Crime Agency then passed the details onto Essex Police, along with information about 35 other potential suspects in their area.
However despite the fact Goldberg was a teacher working with children every day, his case was not taken further until nine months later on September 9, when detectives visited him at his home in Shoeburyness.
According to Essex Police he was not arrested at the time due to a lack of evidence and officers were refused permission to search his home after a local magistrate rejected an application for a warrant.
The following day on September 10, police were contacted over concerns for Goldberg’s welfare and after attending his home found him dead.
An inquest into his death was open and adjourned, but it is understood he was found hanged.
Police yesterday confirmed that attempts had been made to the erase the hard drives on his computers and there was also evidence that a fire had been started in the property.
It is understood he used a camera hidden in a bag to film young boys undressing in the changing rooms of Thorpe Hall school, where he had worked for more than 20 years.
It had also been used at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre swimming pool in Southend and two other unidentified locations.
Despite widespread anger over the apparent delay in investigating Goldberg, Essex Police steadfastly refused to discuss the matter, claiming as it had now been referred to the IPCC it would be inappropriate to comment.
However a police spokesman said: “It is important to stress that we have found no evidence of any other offences by Mr Goldberg involving these children. At this time there is nothing to suggest that he made inappropriate physical contact with any child.
“The school has co-operated with our investigation and we have also found no evidence to suggest that anyone else was involved in Mr Goldberg’s criminal activity. There is also no information that he shared any of these images or that anyone else was aware of his offending.”
The spokesman added: “Essex Police understands that this news may be extremely distressing to both parents and children and has set up a special number for people to call if they have any concerns or believe they have information that would assist the investigation.
“The priority for the police now is to support those affected and we are continuing to work with the school, Southend Borough Council, Essex County Council and others to provide that support and ensure that all appropriate action is taken.”
By Martin Evans