UK: Matthew Smith jailed for 12 years for sexual abuse of Indian children

UK: Matthew Smith jailed for 12 years for sexual abuse of Indian children

On the 9th of August, Matthew Smith (35), a former deputy head teacher of an elementary school in London was sentenced to 12 years in prison for using the dark web to commission child abuse. He would encourage men to lure children away from their family homes and then send him footage of sexual abuse. Between 2017 and 2022, Smith paid £67,000 for the on-camera sexual abuse of boys in India, in the age group of eight to ten. 

While imposing a sentence of 12 years on Smith, Judge Martin Griffith said, “You were paying money – £67,000 – and asked them to provide images of the sexual abuse of young boys under 13.”

The Southwark crown court judge said it was clear Smith “took advantage” of those he was abusing. He added, “You sent requests for images you wanted to be made, sometimes involving sending pictures and asking for them to be recreated by the boys in question.”

In November 2022, the National Crime Agency caught him red-handed while he was ‘chatting’ with a boy in India via the dark web and asking him to send sexual images of a younger child, in exchange for money. He was arrested from his home in East Dulwich. The NCA officials found more than 120,000 sexual abuse images of children on his devices.

Prosecutor Martin Hooper said, “Over 120,000 child sexual abuse images were found on Smith’s computers along with messages to men in India in which he encouraged them to rape and abuse children.”

During the proceedings, the court was informed that one of the men, Smith had commissioned to abuse children was someone he had groomed from a young age. 

Earlier, he confessed his crimes and pleaded guilty to 17 charges. These included charges of 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.

During interrogation by NCA officers, Smith said, “Clearly I have an addiction, probably in this area. I don’t like the person I am. I would give anything to be normal. Anything.”

However, the Senior Officer at the NCA, Helen Dore categorically noted, “Matthew Smith is a prolific offender and master manipulator, who coerced young men into abusing children on his behalf.” 

Earlier, at the age of 24, Smith moved to Chennai, India. However, he spent most of his stay in Nepal where he worked as a teacher. Between 2007 and 2014, he worked intermittently in orphanages and NGOs all around India. In July, he shifted back to the UK and started working as a deputy head teacher and head of pastoral care at Thomas’s prep school in Battersea.

Now, he will languish in jail for the crimes he committed against young boys in India and serve at least eight years of the 12-year prison sentence.

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