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Children’s charity calls on online providers to stop spread of child abuse images

Former deputy headteacher at Acland Burghley is sent to prison

01 June, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Paul Newbury has been jailed for two years and four months

A LEADING child safety charity has made further calls for online providers to take “greater responsibility” for content shared on their platforms after a former deputy headteacher who used the internet to view child abuse was sent to prison this week.

Paul Newbury, former associate headteacher at Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park, used online video conferencing site Zoom and encrypted messaging application Telegram to view and share child abuse images with other users.

The 50-year-old was jailed for two years and four months at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday. A 10-year sexual harm prevention order was imposed. Crown Prosecution Service specialist prosecutor Russell Tyner said: “Online child sexual abuse is one of the most serious criminal threats we face and paedophiles all over the world are finding ever-newer technologies to perpetrate their offending.”

A National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children spokeswoman said Mr Newbury’s actions helped to “fuel a market where children are horrifically abused to order”. She added: “The NSPCC is campaigning for providers to take greater responsibility for what’s shared on their platforms and cut off this vile material at source.”

Zoom said it was “deeply disheartened” to learn of any illegal behaviour and had personnel to investigate incidents.

A spokeswoman add­ed: “Zoom is designed to be a business service and does not allow any illegal content on its platform. If we find suspicious activities, we work closely with appropriate authorities.”

Telegram – which on its website says messages are heavily encrypted and can self-destruct – has said: “We process reports from users and engage in proactive searches to keep public spaces on the platform free of abuse, including child abuse and terrorist propaganda.”

A Telegram group up­dating users says 3,978 groups and channels re­la­ting to child abuse have been banned so far this month.

Mr Newbury pleaded guilty in March to having class A drugs and charges relating to the images. A review of his devices identified 1,246 sexual images of children, including 492 classed as category A, the most serious kind.

Defence barrister Ashley Hendron told the court Mr Newbury had had a “spectacular fall from grace”. He was working at the secondary school in Burghley Road when he was arrested, although there is no evidence that his offending was connected to his job. The school suspended him, and then fired him.

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