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Ex-deputy head at school formerly attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte jailed for sex offences | UK News

A ‘master manipulator’ previously employed as deputy head at the private day school once attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte has been jailed for 12 years after admitting child sex offences.

Matthew Smith, 35, began working at Thomas’s Battersea, where he was also head of pastoral care, in September last year but was sacked two months later after he was arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

George started at the school in 2017 and Charlotte in 2019 but both had left by the time Smith joined and there is no suggestion any of his offending related to Thomas’s or its pupils.

Smith, from East Dulwich, southeast London, pleaded guilty to 22 offences, 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.

Investigators found he was sharing abuse material on the dark web and had paid teenagers in India £65,000 to abuse younger children in India over a five-year period.

Smith was living in Nepal, where he worked at a school for most of that time but had previously worked in orphanages and for NGOs across India between 2007 and 2014.

Matthew Smith was head of pastoral care at Thomas's, Battersea
Matthew Smith was head of pastoral care at Thomas’s Battersea

He moved back to the UK in July 2022 and that summer posted an advert online looking for a flat share in which he said he was a primary school teacher and could help with childcare.

But he was arrested before he was taken up on the offer and the NCA said there is no evidence he committed offences against children in the UK or in Nepal.

Smith was jailed for 12 years at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday and put on the sex offenders register for life.

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Helen Dore, Senior Officer of 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.

“It’s clear Smith has absolutely no empathy for his victims and the harm he has caused them. He presents a very real and significant risk to children, but this investigation has ensured he will spend a long time in prison.

“The NCA is committed to operating online and overseas, working with global partners to ensure that children are safeguarded and offenders like Smith are brought to justice.”

A spokesperson for the school 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.

“As always, we remain absolutely committed to the ongoing safety and wellbeing of our pupils and our whole school community.”

‘No further action’ against former Tory London mayor candidate Shaun Bailey who attended party during COVID pandemic | Politics News

“No further action” will be taken against former Conservative London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey after he attended a party while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Following a Metropolitan Police investigation into the party on 14 December 2020, the force on Friday said it will not be fining Mr Bailey for breaching COVID rules.

The London Assembly member, who lost out to Labour’s Sadiq Khan in May last year, was pictured at an event with more than 20 people said to be held at the Conservative Party’s Westminster headquarters.

At the time, London was under Tier 2 restrictions that banned the mixing of households indoors.

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He apologised when the photo emerged in December 2021 for a “serious error of judgment” and resigned as chairman of the London Assembly’s influential police and crime committee, which scrutinises the work of the Met Police.

On Friday, the police said the photo by itself “is not sufficient evidence” but it was considered alongside “all other relevant material”.

Venue staff were questioned and the Met sent out legal questionnaires to a number of people in the photo.

Conservative's Shaun Bailey arriving at City Hall, London, for the declaration for the next Mayor of London. Picture date: Saturday May 8, 2021.
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“The investigation reviewed all the material thoroughly and after careful consideration, it was determined that there was insufficient evidence to disprove the version of events provided by attendees to a standard that would meet the threshold required,” a Met statement said.

“As a result, a decision was made that no further action should be taken.”

The force did not interview anybody under caution and has used the legal questionnaires to investigate a number of other alleged COVID rule breaches, including for Boris Johnson.

If Mr Bailey had been found to have breached COVID rules he would have faced a fine.