Fresh probe launched into paedophile ring whose victims included Cornish man
POLICE have re-launched an investigation into a paedophile ring that included William Goad, who abused up to 3,500 boys including one victim from Newquay.
The fresh probe comes nine years after Plymouth market trader Goad was jailed for life, and almost a year after he died at Albany Prison on the Isle of Wight, aged 68.
It follows a complaint by one of his victims that previous inquiries ignored claims made by himself and other men about other alleged abusers.
A confidential police report reveals “prominent men in society” may have been members of the paedophile ring linked to Goad, who is thought to be Britain’s most prolific child abuser.
An internal police investigation into the complaint concluded that the original inquiries were carried out to the standards appropriate at that time, but recognised that protocols had since moved on.
Goad was jailed for life in 2004 after he admitted sexually abusing more than a dozen boys, although it is believed he abused up to 3,500 boys over a 35-year period from 1965.
He groomed his victims by offering them jobs at his market stalls and discount stores and then inviting them to his home.
One of the detectives on the original inquiry – former Detective Constable Shirley Thompson – has said that at the time she repeatedly voiced concerns to senior officers that other paedophiles linked to Goad were still at large. However, she said she heard an investigator being told to “put a lid on it and concentrate on Goad”.
The complaint made by Paul Wyatt, one of Goad’s victims, in November last year led to an internal investigation by the force’s Professional Standards Department.
It found that while the force correctly followed its policy at the time, there remains the “possibility” that other victims “might have also been abused by other offenders and thus the lack of any police action has potentially meant these offenders have retained their liberty and continued their offending behaviour”.
Mr Wyatt said: “I want other victims to be listened to and given the opportunity to make a statement. The terms of reference for this new investigation need to be transparent and open, rather than hidden and lost. Only then will justice be done and this case properly laid to rest.”
Det Insp Mike Cooper said: “I will be managing a very experienced team of specially trained officers seconded from the Plymouth Sexual Offence Investigation Unit, the Public Protection Unit and the Major Crime Investigation Team.
“I can confirm the team will be working closely with Mr Wyatt throughout this complex and sensitive investigation.”
Newquay man Ray Zolla claimed in October last year that he had not received a penny of a six-figure sum he was awarded after being abused by Goad.
Mr Zolla, a victim of the pervert when he was a teenager in the Seventies, was told he would receive the payout in 2010 – but said Goad had hidden his assets and blocked attempts to get the money “at every twist and turn”.
He said: “If his assets can be found then they should be given out equally to all the victims. I never did it for the money; I did it to get justice. It nearly destroyed me, but I wasn’t going to be defeated.”
At the time, his solicitor, Kate Maynard, said she had been trying for two years to secure the money owed to him.
“We believe Goad systematically went about hiding his assets because he anticipated his victims coming after him,” she said.
Mr Zolla said he felt “relief, joy, jubilation and total closure” knowing Goad was dead.
“We’ll still carry the pain, but we can take reassurance that he can’t hurt anyone ever again,” he said. “A higher justice has been served.”