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Former teacher in UK gets 12 years in jail for abuse of Indian children

London: A former deputy head teacher of a primary school in London was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday for paying and instructing teenagers in India, where he worked for seven years, to abuse younger children. 


Matthew Smith, 35, from East Dulwich, was arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in November 2022, after investigators identified that he was sharing abuse material on the dark web. 

Sentencing him to 12 years in prison, the Southwark Crown Court subjected Smith to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and placed him on the sex offenders register for life. 

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Smith was online at the time of his arrest, speaking to a teenage boy living in India and asking him to send sexual images of a younger child, in return for money. 

He also had dark web sites and forums open on his computer which were dedicated to child sexual abuse. 

NCA investigators probed chat logs and financial transactions and were able to establish that Smith had paid that same teenager, and another also based in India, a total of GBP 65,398 to abuse children over a five-year period. 

The chat logs showed that Smith would instruct the young men to perform sexual acts on boys and would send them images and videos as examples of ones he would like to receive in return. 

He also gave one of them advice on how to befriend children and build their trust with a view to abusing them, an NCA statement read. 

Smith was living in Nepal and working at a school for the majority of this time. 

Prior to this, he spent various periods working in orphanages and NGOs across India between 2007-2014. 

Investigators found evidence of potential offending by Smith against children while he was working in India. Smith moved back to the UK in July 2022 and began working at a primary school in London in September, where he was a deputy head teacher and head of pastoral care. 

That summer, Smith posted an online advert looking to secure a flat share, in which he said he was a primary school teacher and could assist with childcare. 

He was arrested before he could be taken up on his offer. There is no evidence to suggest he committed offences against children based in Nepal or the UK. 

Officers recovered over 1,20,000 indecent images of children, which Smith had saved on a laptop, SD card and on his phone. 

“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,” Helen Dore, Senior Officer of the National Crime Agency, said. 

“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.” 

Smith 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. 

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