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Acland Burghley School associate headteacher used drugs while watching online child sex abuse

Families and students have been informed

19 March, 2019

Paul Newbury

AN Acland Burghley School associate head teacher sacked last year has admitted collecting more than 2,000 sexual abuse images of children and possessing class A drugs.

Paul Newbury, 50, was in an online video conferencing room where the live sex abuse of a 10-year-old girl was shown in October 2017.  Newbury was using the username ‘north London’ which National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators proved resolved to his home in Wood Green, London.

In February 2018 NCA officers arrested Newbury – who at the time was working at Acland Burghley in Burghley Road, Tufnell Park – and found drugs at his home which included 717 milligrams of cocaine.

In interview Newbury admitted possession of cocaine, GHB, methadrone and crystal methamphetamine, for personal use, which he used while in the video conferencing platform. He also admitted making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

A review of his digital devices identified more than 2,000 child sexual abuse images and videos ranging from category A – the most severe – to category C.

There is no evidence to suggest he was in sexual contact with any children and no evidence to link his offending to the school which sacked him on 7 March 2018, say the NCA.

Newbury arrived at the school in 2015 as part of a new management team trying to rebuild Acland Burghley’s rating after a series of poor Ofsted reports. He had previously been head of music at Camden School for Girls.

Today (Tuesday), at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, Newbury admitted four counts of making indecent images of children, one of distributing indecent photographs of children, two counts of possessing class A drugs, possession of a prohibited image, showing an indecent photograph of a child, and possession of an extreme pornographic image.

He will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on a date to be fixed.

NCA operations manager Graham Ellis said: “Newbury and men like him who make and distribute horrific images of children are fuelling online child sexual abuse.

“The NCA knows that the scale and severity of this offending against children is worsening. Newbury was present when the live abuse of a 10-year-old girl was committed. Though his offending was not connected to his school, he is guilty of a tremendous betrayal of trust.

“The NCA and our law enforcement partners will not stop pursuing child sex offenders and will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.”

A spokesperson for Acland Burghley School said: “Families and students have been informed of today’s events. We are now working with the relevant agencies to ensure the whole school community receives support as we move forward.”

In a letter to parents, the school said it will be organising meetings over the next week with families or prospective families who want more information or have further questions.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “We fully support Acland Burghley School’s transparent and proactive approach to inform the families of their students about this case as soon as was legally possible.

“Extensive checks have been made by the National Crime Agency and both Camden and other councils’ safeguarding teams. These have confirmed that no inappropriate material was found on any school computer, no child protection concerns have ever been raised, and the NCA inquiry focused on the activities at the individual’s home address.”

He added: “The recruitment process used to appoint the individual has also been examined and, at the time of their employment, confirmed to have adhered to all safeguarding requirements.”

The 10-year-old victim whose abuse was live-streamed was identified and safeguarded by authorities in the United States.

Child protection charity The Lucy Faithfull Foundation runs the Stop It Now! helpline which offers confidential advice to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s behaviour towards children.

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