Indecent images of pupils found on computer belonging to dead deputy headteacher Martin Goldberg

Martin Goldberg, a teacher at Thorpe Hall School in Southend, was found dead earlier this month

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The Independent Online

Indecent images of pupils have been found on the computer of a deputy head teacher who was recently found dead, police have said.

Martin Goldberg, a teacher at Thorpe Hall School, in Southend, had almost 600 images on his computer of children undressing in changing rooms at the school, a swimming pool and two other locations.

The 46-year-old was found dead at his home earlier this month -  a day after police spoke to him following allegations he had bought images of naked teenage boys from abroad.

Essex Police believe the images recovered at the teacher's home were taken from a camera hidden in a bag.

They say 75 of the recovered images, classified as "indecent", were from the school's male changing rooms while a further 465 were from the changing rooms at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre swimming pool in Southend and 38 were from two other locations.

Detectives have identified four of the children from the footage and have spoken to their parents.

A police spokesman said: "Officers believe these images cover a time period from 2000 onwards and would appear to be of boys aged from nine to twelve.

"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."

Essex Police began an investigation into allegations Mr Goldberg had bought material online, which may have included images of naked teenage boys.

Mr Goldberg was spoken to by officers at his home in Shoeburyness earlier this month but was not arrested due to a lack of evidence, a force spokesman said.

He was found dead the following day, on September 10, after officers were alerted over concerns for his welfare.

A police spokesman said the force continued its investigation into the original allegations and examined computer equipment and other media devices found in the teacher's home.

The spokesman said: "Detectives have now recovered images that appear to have come from a camera that was hidden in a bag.

"This has been used to film male children undressing in the school's male changing rooms, in the changing rooms at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre swimming pool in Southend and two other unidentified locations.

"These are criminal offences of voyeurism under the Sexual Offences Act 2003."

Police have said Mr Goldberg's death is not being treated as suspicious and the matter had been handed over to the coroner.

In a statement released by the school, headteacher Andrew Hampton said governors and staff were all "very shocked" by the news.

Mr Hampton said: "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.

"Everyone at Thorpe Hall School feels surprised, angry and betrayed.  Our immediate focus is on supporting our pupils, parents and staff at this difficult time.

"An incident such as this is very alarming and no one could have foreseen it."

The headteacher said the school's safeguarding policies were inspected in March and there had been no recommendations for areas to improve.

He said: "Despite this, we are re-enforcing our safeguarding procedures to ensure our provision goes beyond the highest standards expected of all UK schools and are as watertight as it is possible to have them. We will also be providing additional staff training in safeguarding and will continue our close working relationship with the local authority.

"Our aim now is to move forward, with the safeguarding of our pupils and the quality of their education remaining our very highest priority."

An investigation has been launched into why it took police nine months to act after concerns were raised about Mr Goldberg.

Nick Alston, the county's police and crime commissioner, said early indications were that the case may have highlighted failings.

He added that the original investigation had been launched after police in Toronto, Canada, contacted Essex Police in November 2013 with information suggesting that Goldberg had bought videos of naked boys several years ago.

As a result of this delay, the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mr Alston said: "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.

"Essex Police has referred aspects of this case to the IPCC, and I expect the independent watchdog to investigate thoroughly and rigorously.

"It would be wrong of me to pre-empt the findings of that investigation, but my initial judgment is that it is likely that something has gone badly wrong here, including possibly in the original assessment and review by CEOP.

"I have also asked Essex Police urgently to review any information or intelligence they possess, such as the material from police in Toronto, about potential paedophile activity in our county and the processes for risk assessment reports of such activity.

"It is essential that our communities have confidence that Essex Police is doing everything in its power to investigate intelligence or information about paedophiles in a rapid and thorough fashion.”