April 2017

Former Gable Hall School and Westcliff High School for Boys music teacher admits downloading child abuse images

A TEACHER has admitted downloading images of child abuse from the internet.

Peter Goldsmith, a former music teacher at Westcliff High School for Boys, in Kenilworth Gardens, Westcliff, appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Goldsmith, 55, who also formerly worked at Gable Hall school, in Stanford-le-Hope, admitted making four of the most serious category A images, one category B image and six category C images.

The charges relate to an incident on November 30 last year.

Headteacher Michael Skelly wrote to parents on the day of the court appearance, stating that Goldsmith of Pocklington Close, Chelmsford, had been immediately suspended when the investigation came to light last year.

He said: “You will be aware that Mr Goldsmith has been absent from the school and this immediate action was taken to safeguard pupils, which is clearly of paramount importance to the school.

“The charges against Mr Goldsmith relate to activity on the internet which took place outside the school.

“We have been working with Essex Police and the Southend Borough Council’s safeguarding team to assist the investigation.

“We understand that this news might be upsetting for pupils, parents and colleagues. I wish to reassure you that none of the charges relate to Mr Goldsmith’s activity as a teacher at the school.

“I am sure you will appreciate that the school was not in a position to share information regarding this matter prior to the hearing today and we are not able to provide any more details.”

The letter said any pupils or parents who want to discuss the matter can contact the school.

A statement from the school, written by Dr Sophia Asong said: “We have been made aware that a former member of staff, Mr Peter Goldsmith, has been charged with offences relating to downloading indecent images of children and is being brought to Magistrates’ Court today.

“None of these charges relate to Mr Goldsmith’s activities in a school setting and are related to activities in his personal life.

“The safeguarding of our children remains our key focus and we understand that this news may be upsetting to those who knew him.

“I would like to reassure every one that we know there are no direct links to any of our students.

“We have, however, been working closely with the Local Authority Safeguarding Officer for Thurrock to ensure that provision is available to support our students and parents should any specific safeguarding concerns regarding this individual emerge at this point.”

Goldsmith will appear for sentencing at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on April 26.