Teacher at school attended by royals charged with child sex abuse offences
The former deputy head at the first school attended by Prince George and Princess Charlotte appeared in court on Tuesday to face a series of child sexual abuse charges.
Matthew Smith, 34, was previously the deputy head of pastoral care at Thomas’s prep school in Battersea.
On Tuesday, he appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court charged with 17 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.
The charges relate to the alleged commissioning of the sexual abuse of children in India via the internet between 2017-2022.
It is said the online abuse involved children as young as seven years old.
Smith was living in Nepal and working at a school for the majority of this time before moving back to the UK, said the National Crime Agency.
Officers said the alleged offences did not relate to children based in the UK or Nepal.
Smith also faces six counts of making and distributing over 120,000 child sexual abuse images, including 10,944 in the most serious category, which were found on a laptop, SD card, and iPhone.
He was remanded in custody on Tuesday and is due to appear at Southwark crown court on June 20.
Helen Dore, Senior Officer at the National Crime Agency, said: “Child sexual abuse committed online and across borders is a substantial threat to the UK, and it’s one the NCA is committed to tackling.
“We are dedicated to pursuing the most dangerous offenders and to protecting any child who may be at risk, in the UK and across the globe.”
In a previous statement, Thomas’s prep school said: “The safety and wellbeing of our pupils is, and always will be, our top priority.”
“As there are ongoing criminal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time other than to say that there is no suggestion that the offences relate to Mr Smith’s employment at Thomas’s or to any current or former pupils of the school.”
The children of the Prince and Princess of Wales attended the school, where fees are up to £25,000 a year, until July 2021 before switching to Lambrook School near Ascot.
Smith is accused of five counts of intentionally encouraging or assisting child rape, three charges of inciting a boy under 13 to engage in sexual activity, arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, three counts of making indecent images of children, posession of an extreme pornographic image, possession of a prohibited image of a child, and three counts of distributing an indecent image of a child.